The Giver of Life 


The LORD of Hosts The Koran
The Author of Life The Way, The Truth and the Life
Indigestible The Word of God

LogoThe LORD of Hosts

Who gives life? Who gave it to Adam, the man of clay, lying inert, at one with the ground from which he was modelled?:

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7).

It is God who "gives life to all things:"

"I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen." (1 Timothy 6:14-16).

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  • “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever.”

  • (Deuteronomy 32:39-40).



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The Lord 'make[s] alive,' none other but He. As Hannah put it:

"The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. (1 Samuel 2:6).

The LORD, the captain of the hosts, is the giver of life.

"Our God is the God of salvation; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death." (Psalm 68:20).

". . .and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:. . ." (Daniel 5:23).

And life is in Jesus' hand:

“Jesus wept.
“Then the Jews said, 'See how He loved him!”
“And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
“Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
“Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
“Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
“And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
“Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”
“And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'” (John 11:35-44).

Truly it is said, "And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. . ." (Ezekiel 37:13), because the ability is rare.

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LogoThe Koran

The unlettered Arabian prophet got more than a few things wrong, but every now and again he gets something right. In the Koran, who is the giver of life? The reader hastens to reply, 'Allah,' which is one answer; and there is another:



  • “Remember when the angel said, 'O Mary! Verily God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be, Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and one of those who have near access to God;
  • “And He shall speak to men alike when in the cradle and when grown up; And he shall be one of the just.'
  • “She said, 'How, O my Lord! shall I have a son, when man hath not touched me?' He said, 'Thus: God will create what He will; When He decreeth a thing, He only saith, "Be," and it is.'
  • “And he will teach him the Book, and the Wisdom, and the Law, and the Evangel; and he shall be an apostle to the children of Israel. 'Now have I come,' he will say, 'to you with a sign from your Lord: Out of clay will I make for you, as it were, the figure of a bird: and I will breathe into it, and it shall become, by God's leave, a bird.  And I will heal the blind, and the leper; and by God's leave will I quicken the dead; and I will tell you what ye eat, and what ye store up in your houses! Truly in this will be a sign for you, if ye are believers.”


  • (Sura 3:40-43).




LogoThe Author of Life

Even kings know life is not in their hands:

"And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, 'Am I God, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.'" (2 Kings 5:7).

The Messiah is the King of Israel, but He is so much more. The apostle Peter makes a remarkable claim about the identity of his master:



  • “The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the God our our fathers, glorified his son Jesus, whom you betrayed and denied before Pilate, when Pilate judged that he should be released; but you denied the holy and righteous man, and demanded that a murderer be given you as your gift; and you killed the author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.”
  • (Acts 3:13-15, Richmond Lattimore translation).




Logo

What would it mean to speak of the "author of life"? Is this even the correct translation?:

"αρχηγος, . . .beginning, originating a thing, c. gen., Eur. II. as Subst., like αρχηγετης, founder, of a tutelary hero, Soph. 2. a prince, chief, Aesch., Simon. Thuc. 3. a first cause, originator, του πραγματος Xen." (An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, p. 121).

The image of the "author of life," murdered, is so jarring that some translators choose the less shocking political route. Can Peter really have said this, and meant it? He did if he believed his master was who He said He was:

"But the Prince of life ye killed (τον δε αρχηγον της ζωης απεκτεινατε). "The magnificent antithesis" (Bengel) Peter here draws between their asking for a murderer and killing the Prince (or Author) of life. Peter pictures Jesus as the source of all life as is done in John 1:1-18; Col 1:14-20; Hebrews 1:2. αρχηγος (αρχη, beginning, αγω, to lead) is an adjective "furnishing the first cause or occasion" in Euripides, Plato. Thence substantive, the originator, the leader, the pioneer as of Jesus both Beginner and Finisher (Hebrews 12:2). See also Hebrews 2:10; Ac 5:31 where it is applied to Jesus as "Prince and Saviour." But God raised him from the dead in contrast to what they had done." (Robertson's Word Pictures, Acts 3:15).
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The Way, the Truth and the Life

What does Jesus Himself say on this topic? Where does He stand relation to life? Is He with us, hoping and praying to hold onto this thing which we cannot create or call into existence? We defend our precious lives against the myriad picayune and sometimes preposterous threats the world throws against us, taking care not to drown in the bath-tub, knowing once it's lost we cannot get it back. Does He stand with us on this? Or is it He who bestows this unearned benefit upon all living things? Does He give life to those who love and follow Him?

The Rabbis said, "Elijah prayed that the keys of resurrection might be given him, but was answered, Three keys have not been entrusted to an agent: of birth, rain, and resurrection." (Babylonian Talmud, Tract Sanhedrin 113a). See who holds the key of resurrection:

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  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.”
  • (John 5:25-27).


  •  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”
  • (John 11:25-26).


  • “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
  • (John 14:6).





LogoIndigestible

The raising of Lazarus is the New Testament miracle before which Unitarianism collapses. This cannot have happened in their world-view. Not a channel nor a barely involved by-stander, not an Elijah or an Elisha, Jesus, who says 'I am the resurrection and the life,' raises Lazarus on His own authority:



  • “We have hitherto been ascending a ladder of miracles; first, cures of mental disorders, then, of all kinds of bodily maladies, in which, however, the organization of the sufferer was not so injured as to cause the cessation of consciousness and life; and now, the revivification of bodies, from which the life has actually departed. This progression in the marvellous is, at the same time, a gradation in inconceivability. We have indeed been able to represent to ourselves how a mental derangement, in which none of the bodily organs were attacked beyond the nervous system, which is immediately connected with mental action, might have been removed, even in a purely psychical manner, by the mere word, look, and influence of Jesus: but the more deeply the malady appeared to have penetrated into the entire corporeal system, the more inconceivable to us was a cure of this kind. . .And yet, up to this point, there was always something present, to which the miraculous power of Jesus could apply itself; there was still a consciousness in the objects, on which to make an impression —a nervous life to be stimulated. Not so with the dead. The corpse from which life and consciousness have flown has lost the last fulcrum for the power of the miracle worker; it perceives him no longer—receives no impression from him; for the very capability of receiving impressions must be conferred on him anew. But to confer this, that is, to give life in the proper sense, is a creative act, and to think of this as being exercised by a man, we must confess to be beyond our power."

  • (David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, Part II, Chapter IX, Section 100, p. 486).




LogoIn other words the Unitarians are prepared to believe that Jesus could conquer psycho-somatic ills, in much the same way as any other faith healer, but death, that's too much. Indeed. Here is a dividing line.

At the first dawning of the German 'enlightenment,' persons who thought of themselves as 'rationalists' went over the gospels with a fine-toothed comb and re-interpreted them in light of this new knowledge. They proffered 'rational' explanations for the miracles of the Bible, namby-pamby at best and cheats at worst. For instance, in this case, they suggested that Jesus did not raise Lazarus from the dead, that is of course impossible, but rather He only noticed he was alive, his loving sisters having thrust him into the tomb while still breathing. They do not know who He is:

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4).

In the hands of these 'rationalist' critics, miracles became, not a recommendation of Jesus' claim to be God incarnate, but rather a stumbling block which could not be overcome. God is the author of nature and as such penned the laws of nature. But He did not in so doing take away His own freedom of action. In setting bounds to the sea which it could not pass, He never said He wasn't going to walk on it:

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LogoIn Him Was Life

The apostle John said that he had not only seen, but even touched, the "word of life:"

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:1-3).

He also said of Jesus, that "in him was life:"



  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • “The same was in the beginning with God.
  • “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  • “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”


  • (John 1:1-4)



LogoAs the Logos, or eternal Word of God, Jesus was in the beginning, and gave life to all things. It is one thing to talk, it is another to deliver the groceries:

"Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, 'Young man, I say to you, arise.' So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother." (Luke 7:14-15).
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