Sunday, July 31, 2016

Jefferson's Bible: Jesus and the Second Coming

Who knew?  This was about the last thing most modern people would expect: Thomas Jefferson's razor blade cut out everything except Jesus of Nazareth's philosophical wisdom, right?

But there's Jesus, Bigger Than Life on Judgment Day, with angels in tow and everything:

Courtesy: The Smithsonian's Interactive "Jefferson Bible"

Does this mean that Thomas Jefferson believed that Jesus Christ would come again on Judgment Day, to judge the living and the dead, to separate "the sheep from the goats?" Nobody can know. Thomas Jefferson is dead. And was he a sheep or a goat? He certainly thought he was a sheep, his slaveowning and treatment of his slaves notwithstanding. 

Some believe salvation comes from good works, being "a good person."  Jefferson did.  Others believe we are saved sola fide, by faith alone.   And as the universalists believed then and believe now, God loves both the sheep and the goats anyways.  Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell---if there is a Hell, perhaps it's empty, everyone reconciled to their creator---is above the pay grade of this blog.  Above Jefferson's pay grade too, although as with all things, he was pretty sure he had it all figured out. 

What I like so much about the era of the American Founding is that regardless of what answers we come up with today, they were always asking the right questions way back then. 

It was an era of great confusion, but compared to our own era, it was a time of great clarity.

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