To more fully understand the concept of “the Christ,” we must be ready to receive a mystery that is just too good to be true. God is saving everything and everybody until, as Paul says, “Christ will be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). Or, as St. Augustine put it, “In the end there will only be Christ, loving himself.” Now this may sound like a shocking statement at first, but we are talking on a mystical and cosmological level about where history is going. Most of us did fairly well with the passion and death of the individual Jesus, but any comprehensive theology of what we mean by the Risen Christ has not really been developed. Some individuals seem to have gotten “saved,” but surely not the cosmos itself. Yet the precise genius of Jewish revelation is that it was a “salvation of history” itself, and not just persons. (Read the prophets and compare how often they speak to Israel as a whole corporate personality compared to a mere Jezebel or Azariah—probably ten to one!)
Christ is the code word for all of creation, all of humanity, what God has “anointed” (Christened) with love. The New Testament says that we are the “firstfruits” or “adopted” sons and daughters of the one who first fully carried this awesome truth. Jesus is the symbolic firstborn Son (who fully accepts and believes what his Jewish scriptures told him), and we all share in his same inheritance. That is the whole point! To use the language of the Pauline school in the letter to the Ephesians: “Before the world began, we were chosen in Christ to live through love in his presence” (1:4-6).
Yes, Christ is a larger, older, and longer existence than Jesus of Nazareth. Yet Jesus’ great act of love, courage, and surrender was precisely to let go of his Jesus so that Christ could arise and move forward carrying all of us in his sweep. Stone Age people, Hindus, Abraham, and Sarah were objectively part of this one Eternal Christ Mystery. Forgive my seeming arrogance, but again—that is the whole point!
Adapted from The Cosmic Christ (CD, MP3)