Here’s a draft of another key bit from my chapter 1 of How Jesus Became God


From these various examples, we can see a variety of ways that divine beings could be thought to be human and that humans could be though to be divine in the ancient world.   I scarcely need to stress again that this way of looking at things stands considerably at odds with how most people understand the relationship of the human and the divine in our world, at least people who stand in the western religious tradition (Jews, Christians, Muslims).   As I have noted already, in our world it is widely thought that the divine realm is separated from the human by an immense and unbridgeable chasm.   God is one thing.  Humans are another thing.  And never the twain shall meet.   Well, almost never: in the Christian tradition they did meet once, in the person of Jesus.  And our question is how that was thought to have happened.  At the root of that thought, as I will be arguing, is a different sensibility about the world, one in which divinity is not absolutely remote from humanity, but relatively remote.

In this ancient way of thinking, both humanity and divinity are on a continuum, and these two continuums sometimes meet at the high end of the one and the low end of the one.   We too in the modern world often think of humans as being on a kind of continuum.  There are some people who are smarter, more athletic, and/or more beautiful than the rest of us.   In fact, some people are fantastically smart, athletic, and beautiful.  If Albert Einstein, LeBron James, and Penelope Cruz are not exactly gods and a goddess, they are oh so much more so than the couple who lives next door.

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