This paper comes out from a statement that any one needs to have a center as a departing point and at the same time as a returning point. This statement is based on the fact that when human get stuck for some complicated problems encountered, they try to find the way to rely on and to get back to the basic rule which is the way of spirituality, but unfortunately they cannot attain their returning to God without a mediation provided by religions that we might suppose as the substance of culture.
It’s popularly known that no matter what the religions are, they provide transcendental mediation which human are able to easily experience and feel God as the center of all, mainly spirituality, this mediation is a symbol of God’s presence to them within or beside them, and in this paper, it will be discussed about this symbol in the context of Christianity which has so many uniqueness different from any other religions. This presence of God is not merely because human seeks God, but it because absolutely God loves human. The presence, in this context, is a symbolic because He is transcendent Absolute and of course He uses sensible symbols for human commonly needs to see Him as immanent to mediate them with the Transcendence.
This symbolizing and human existing are gift from God, and what they try to be closer to Him is their gift to Him. This unlimited gift, love, reaches the deepest point when sending His spiritual son, Jesus Christ, to the universe, to mediate them with Him that is in this case as the symbol of Him. This mediation through Jesus emerges because human cannot attain His absoluteness, and that’s why Jesus Christ takes a significant position, a historical symbol of God, in Christianity.
This mediation is not commonly known such as if material to material, but it’s in spiritual term related to the material and immaterial world, infinite and definite. And Jesus is the mediation between them, between the Transcendent world and immanent world, or between the Creator and the Creature. In the case, that the creature feels the creator, and God addresses His love to the human.
Based on history, it is commonly known that revelation is mediated in what religions are, without mediation human cannot easily aware and feel the presence of God, because God is the Infinite that encompass everything. As consequence of it, human cannot attain Him due to their definiteness, or in another logical term, human as creature are not able to understand/know the Creator, except He acknowledges Him self. Or that is to say, how can the creature really knows the creator, how can the definite understands the infinite. Therefore, as such symbolic mediation of an external event or an objective and specific medium is strongly required.
Symbol or mediator is need in two levels:
- Conceptual Symbol
conceptual symbols which are the words, notions, concepts, ideas, sayings, or texts that mediate a deeper consciousness of a level of reality that goes beyond their overt meaning, this symbol requires reason for human are commonly bound to rational, deep understanding or even contemplation. But for saint people, it doesn’t merely need such rational, but also intuition, and or heart, for He is the creator of rational and is beyond rational.
The metaphor is, however, a better example of this consciousness symbols; description of how the metaphor functions resemble the dynamic of symbol. For instance to give a simple explanation that God is Light; God is the Light like the Sun, its lighting is his love to the Human even they never ask is light, and it also never expects any reward from Human.
Another example that is the relation between God and man like light and darkness, so God is perpetually lighting man because God loves man even man doesn’t deserve to get this light.
2. Concrete symbol
Different from conceptual symbol, the concrete symbols are an object referring to things, places, event, or person mediating a presence and consciousness of another reality. This symbol is existed in each religion, mainly Christianity and is very significant to experiencing God’s presence in or within the universe. Without such symbol, human mostly have big hindrance to feel Him.
E.g.: the human body mediates the presence of the human spirit on several levels; to others by gesture and speech, to conscious self-awareness by reflection on one’s action.
Related to this case, we can simply state that the place of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion, for Christians, Jesus is the concrete symbol of God for encountering God in History.
The term Symbol in this case is not merely indicates that Jesus is truly God, but it’s also incorrect to say that Jesus in truly man, Gospels do not clearly state that Jesus is God, or Jesus is human. Jesus is a man because of His personality and at the same time Jesus is God because he is the Immanence of God. And we cannot say for sure say whether Jesus was conscious that He was God but surely Jesus was conscious of His mission and intimate, exclusive, personal relationship with the father.
After all it’s very clear that Father is the Transcendent of God and Jesus is the Immanence of God, so what ever God says, God says it in Jesus, what ever God wants to reveal, He reveals fully in Jesus. It takes consequent that Jesus has two dimensions that is a full integrity between the divinity and humanity of Jesus.
Jesus as the Symbol of God
It’s a fact that Jesus, in history, was a concrete figure, He come to save human from unspiritual path, he come when the people commonly lose their spirituality. The term Jesus, actually, is first of all a proper name and in this work it always refers to Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus was an early first-century Jew who later came to be recognized by some, or many, depending on the perspective, as the Messiah, anointed one, or Christ.
The title “Christ” quickly developed into a second name proper name, so that he became known as Jesus Christ most probably after his death. Because of His message attracted the people who are in the spiritual crisis. And he exactly came when the people in his age are disappointed by the King leading them to the arrogance, criminal.
These disappointed people are poor, uneducated, sailor and overall they are intimidated, and but Jesus approached them and educated them to be civilized people, and finally built the Kingdom of God, that is the kingdom of love, suffering, but in the same time they are the great people. His attractive teachings make people understand the meaning of life, and how to under their life.
The name of Jesus of Nazareth is the best designator of Jesus during the course of his earthly life, his presence to the History is rightly in the age when spiritual crisis comes, and Jesus overcomes it by being a mediation between human and God in history. So that Human encountered God in Jesus, and they still do.
Encountering God in and through Jesus was the origin of Christianity. That’s why Jesus, in Christianity, takes the highest position in order people to attain God, the Father. Without him one’s spiritual journey absolutely couldn’t be revealed. Jesus is the Father’s message for all human. And who ever desires to feel God, he comes through, by and within Him. Jesus historically is the concrete love of God to human, because Jesus is His Son and the Immanent of Him, the Icon of Him.
Jesus presence has attracted the eye of Jews that is shortly after he declared himself as mediation, a good number of Jews were so moved religiously because a large variety of ways they experienced God and God’s saving presence mediated by him. Jesus Presence is the salvation and the disclosure of God that is concrete, to experience God as such, in the absoluteness.
The previously mentioned are exactly the fact that Jesus is the symbol of God, in the sense that Jesus is a mediation of the experience of God in history. Jesus Christ is the mediator of specifically Christian faith Jesus is salvation by being a revealer of God, a symbol for an encounter with God, and an exemplar of human existence.
For Jesus is the symbol of God, the Image of God and the Icon of God, that human are able to find God in history, it’s supported by any titles given to Him and addressed in the New Testament as listed in the following:
And It’s still questioned that, if Jesus is a symbol God, is Jesus encountered today is really Jesus or Jesus in memory? The answer is it is still Jesus who is intended-the Jesus of the past and what is known of Jesus historically is, as it were, drawn forward and interpreted within a present day horizon. And Jesus that we understand today is still Jesus as was without any differentiation.
As the statement above, Jesus that we understand and meet today is still the mediation of which human feel the presence of God, this mediation is as it was, and will be. Human can attain Him through, by, and within Jesus. Jesus is the main instrument of reaching Him. And without him it’s nonsense to find God in History.
By such mediation human know the expression of God’s love to make human love others, as God loved human. And of course it’s not only to know God and God’s love, but also to have deep of self-consciousness and Absolute consciousness. But it’s not easy to have this consciousness except He points and help us conscious toward Him. And we believe that because God loves us, it’s not impossible to be enlightened by His grace.
As a spiritual seeker of course to go to the right path the writer needs a central figure that brings to Him, and Jesus is a revealer to unite with Him, so the writer expect that God’s love enlightenment is also addressed in order the writer have a good spirituality, self-consciousness and Absolute consciousness.
And as the closing point, this writing paper might be beneficial for any one else who are the journey to the Gateway of myriad wonders. And any critic and input are respectfully considered as appreciation to this writing.
 Roger Haight, Jesus, Symbol of God, Orbis Books, Mary Konal 1999, page 13
 Gerardette Philips, Jesus-truly Human and truly Divine, paper, page 5