Although people know a lot about the Desert Fathers and Mothers and there has recently been a resurgence of interest in them, few understand that there was a mystical theological core that united them. That core was the essential understanding that Jesus is a paradox—that he is “at once God and human.” The Alexandrian Mystics’ use of the phrase “at once God and human” is key. This mystic theology means that we can never refer to Jesus’ humanity aside from his Divinity. We can also never refer to Jesus’ Divinity aside from his humanity. In other words if I am a believer and say that Jesus is human, I need to qualify that statement: the human incarnation of God. If I am a believer and say that Jesus is God, I need to qualify that statement: God in human form.
This is a profound insight for debates about Jesus today, where most on the Christian left are comfortable with Jesus’ humanity only (the historical Jesus) and where most on the Christian right seem to be enamored with Jesus’ Divinity only. Both miss the boat. According to The Alexandrian Mystics (Christian Mystics of the Alexandrian Desert in the 3rd through 5th centuries) Jesus is always both—a mystic paradox.
The West is familiar with the Desert Fathers and Mothers. But the West is not familiar with the theology that united them in the beginning—the theology of The Jesus Paradox.
My book is titled “Healing The Divide,” because Western Christianity today is divided between those who acknowledge Jesus’ humanity only and those who acknowledge Jesus’ Divinity only. The Jesus Paradox as taught by the Alexandrian Mystics has the power to heal this divide and open the mind and heart to more depth and more layers of meaning.