Peace for Life: Christian Perspective
International Conference on Peace for Life in North East Asia
Korea Christian Faculty Fellowship
15. – 19. May 2005 at Roman Catholic Retreat Center, Uiwang, Korea
Life and Peace from Christian Perspective
Prof. Dr. YIM Tae-Soo
In order to compare with the thoughts of life and peace in the traditional faith of Korea, Tonghak, Juche Ideology, Buddhism, I will examine characteristics of Christian thoughts of life and peace.
1. Peace in the Old Testament
There can be no Life without peace. Peace, therefore, is one of the most important ele-ments for life.
1.1 Meaning of shalom
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. P. D. Hanson defines shalom ( שׁםול ) like this: "Shalom is the state in which chaos should not invade. Life should not be shrunk or de-stroyed and all fears are removed."
C. Westermann says that the Hebrew word shalom is derived from the verb shalem which means "to make perfect, to make whole, to make safe." The noun shalom means “perfect, whole and safety.” The primary meaning of shalom is that organic body, human commu-nity, city, nation, family are not damaged and exist wholly, perfectly and safely. According to the Old Testament God, Yahweh, gives shalom. (c.f. Judges 6:24 ; Pss 29:11 ; 35:27 ; Job 25:2 ; Num. 6:26).
Shalom in the Old Testament does not simply mean a state of no-war or lack of mass vio-lence in the sense of passive peace. Shalom in the Old Testament means the active peace that is beyond passive peace. Active peace means a state in which the human and nature en-joy shalom as in the time of creation.
The world that God created was the world of peace. Peace was nesting between God and human being, between God and nature, between man/woman and woman/man, between human being and nature, between nature and nature. This peace began to be destroyed be-cause of human being. Let us examine the causes and phenomena of destruction of peace.
1.2 Causes and Phenomena of Destruction of Peace
1) Aggression and rule of powerful countries. From ancient times up today powerful countries have invaded small countries and dominated them by using their power. Such ag-gressive countries are Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Roman Empire in the Biblical times. In the modern time we have Great Britain, France, Germany, and Spain. In East Asia, China and Japan invaded, plundered and ruled the surrounding countries. Also in our time, the former Soviet Union and the United States of America invaded and dominated many countries. Today the United States of America is exercising her power as a world superpower.
This has caused many wars, for example, Afghanistan war and the Iraq war. Greed for aggression and domination by these powerful countries, is the main factor that destroys the world peace. Korea is among the countries that suffered much from these powerful countries.
The most urgent work is to establish world peace by controlling the greed of the aggressive and powerful countries, and by liberating the small countries from their control.
2) The war
War is one of the methods powerful countries use to fulfill their greed for aggression and domination of the world. War is the biggest factor that threaten peace. Since human history has begun, war still goes continually.
Between 1484-1945 there have been 278 wars in the world(in Europe 187 times, in other continents 91 times). During World I, II, more than 78,270,000 soldiers and civilians were killed. After 1945, a lot of wars broke out, such as Chinese civil war, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iran-Iraq war, Afghanistan war, Lebanon war, Iraq war. These wars brought victims of tens of millions and much damage of properties.
(1) The holy war: The war of Yahweh
In the past, there were a lot of wars in the history of humankind in the name of gods. People call the divine war in Israel as holy war. But there is no word for holy war in the Old Testament itself. Instead it is called the war of Yahweh(Num. 21:14; I Sam 18:17).
The holy war is war that Yahweh used to judge countries that sinned. If God did not judge the country that committed sins, then the evil would gain power and more people would have been killed than by God's judgment. So, God judged the country that committed sins. This is the holy war as understood in the Old Testament.
The war against Canaanites by Joshua(Gen. 15:16), the war against Midianites by Gideon, the war against Philistines by David are all holy wars. The holy war is not a war that annihilates only hostile countries of Israel. When Israel and Judah sinned, God destroyed Israel and Judah through Assyria and Babylon. This also was a kind of Holy war. Holy war is the war of judgment against countries that sinned. Paradoxically we can say that holy war is an unavoidable war to maintain peace. If God did not judge the country that committed crime, then there would be more victims from other crimes rather than victims by holy war.
Therefore holy war is carried out to prevent victims of human crime beforehand.
But, after the Old Testament era, God did not allow the holy war anymore, because there was no more legal receiver of God's command of war such as Joshua, Gideon and David.
The ideology of holy war has however, been misused until today. For instance, the ideology of jihad is derived from the Old Testament and has been abused by fundamental Muslims.
1948 WCC in the Amsterdam declared:
"we reject all wars and even those wars such as holy war and just war with fine adjectives”.
(2) "The Just war"
Christians in 1st century were not in positions of influencing politics of their countries or civil life. They did not have obligatory military service. Therefore they needed not to think about the war seriously. Therefore, there are not many recordings about the notion of just war. But, since the 3rd century, the number of Christian soldiers increased rapidly. At that time, Christians expressed their opinion that war has many negative effects on peoples’ lives, therefore it does not fit well with Christian principle of peace. But there were no Christian thinker who refused the war totally, because no one could imagine the security of a nation without war.
Tertullian, Church Father, opposed military service for Christians, but he recognized such duties as defensive works of the nation and keeping of social order. He, therefore, advo-cated that the Church should pray for emperor's army. Since Constantine the Great (280-337), Christianity aligned itself with state power. Christians who were once banished from the army were accepted again in the army.
In 416 A.D. even the emperor Theodosius Ⅱ gave Royal decree that only Christians could enter the army.
St. Augustine (354-430) divided the war into "the just war and "the unjust war. " The unjust war means war that is carried out to conquer and dominate neighboring countries. On the contrary, "the just war" means legitimate war which purpose is in order to recover the dam-aged right. Augustine insisted that only "the just war" must be carried out. In the middle Ages, the ideology of just war has been accepted and it has received as standard war in the church.
The ideology of just war has become a focus for controversy today. Theodore Weber ar-ranges the standard of the just war as follows:
A. Standards appealing to the war
1. Right intention (for peace, recovery of justice and social order)
2. Right cause (self defense)
3. Qualified authority (person having right calling a country to the war)
4. Last means (war by last resort to make peace and order safely)
5. Logical hope for success
B. Standards that control the war as means for peace
1. Principle of comparison (good results must surpass evil results)
2. Principle of separation (objection to the war of aggression, prohibition of bombing non-combat agents)
This ideology of just war originated in the idea to control unjust wars. But this just war also has been abused because of egoistic mind of powerful countries. They have a tendency to legalize their wars as just wars even though they make unjust wars. Eventually they make war under the mask of just war.
It has been realized that man cannot solve the problem of war with the ideology of just war in the world. It is impossible to insist the legitimation of the just war anymore. West European Christian countries abused the ideologies of holy war and unjust war for their colonial invasion wars. This violates Jesus’ nonviolence-peace ideology.
1.3 Suppression and Exploitation of rulers
Let's examine the suppression of rulers and exploitation. Even though there is no invasion or control of powerful countries that is not shalom. If the rulers continue with dictatorial reign, or the power holder continues suppression and exploitation, then there is no shalom in the society. Israel chose the system of monarchy because of shortcomings of the system of judges.
The system of monarchy that Israel has chosen was theocratic. In this theocratic monarchy, the king was expected to look after people like his own brothers and sisters (Deut. 17:20; 1 kings 12:7) and to rule by justice and peace. But the actual monarchy system in the history of Israel was contrary to the ideal theocratic monarchy. Suppression, exploitation, unjust and illegality of kings and power holders have overridden the peace of ordinary poor peo-ple, the Minjung, destructively.
We can find resistances against these rulers in the books of prophets and hear the voices of criticism in the historical books. In a word, violence and oppression of the ruler and the rich are decisive elements that break peace of the society. Therefore it is very important to get rid of violence and oppression of the ruler and the rich in order to recover social peace.
We still experience such violence and oppression of ruling class and the rich in the 21st century. It needs not to say that it is essential to get rid of violence and oppression of the ruler and the rich for recovering shalom of our society.
1.4 Sexual discrimination
Women occupy half of the population in the world. If women are discriminated against, we cannot say that there is true peace in the world, it is breaking women's shalom. Unfor-tunately the sexual discrimination is not abolished up to now. Breaking of the women's shalom extends to the breaking of shalom of family and whole society. In other words, the breaking of women's shalom is the breaking of men's shalom too. Therefore, recovering of women’s shalom begins with abolishing sexual discrimination. It is also a way of recov-ering of shalom of men as well as whole mankind. In this sense abolishing of sexual dis-crimination is very important and urgent for the shalom of whole society.
1.5 Peace Ideologies for Cessation of war
Above we have examined the holy war and the just war. We found that the Holy war was a kind of war ideology of Israel. By the way, there is not only holy war ideology in the Old Testament. We need to know that there are also peace ideologies in the Bible. But unfortu-nately until now, on the one hand, peace ideology has been buried and is not been well known, and on the other hand, only holy war ideology is embraced and has had a negative impact in human history. Let's examine important peace ideologies in the Bible.
1) Beating swords into plowshares (Micah 4, 1-5 ; Isaiah, 2: 2-4). In Micah 4, 1-5 a per-manent plan for cessation of war is presented. Micah 4, 1-5 show that "beating swords into plowshares and Spears into pruning hooks and not taking up sword against nation, nor training for war anymore" is the only way of cessation of war. This seems to be very easy and self-evident, but actually people have walked way of opposition with this. Micah 4, 1-5 shows the way for peace as following:
A. Making no weapon anymore.
B. Abolishing weapons already made and making them into implements for production.
C. Continuing disarmament and making the world without weapon.
D. Making the world without war permanently.
E. People of God should follow this way forever (Micah 4:5).
The Bible shows that this is the only way of ceasing the war eternally.
2) Peaceful coexistence (Book of Jonah)
Nineveh was the Assyrian capital and an enemy of Israel. God's judgment to Nineveh was at hand because of its full measure of sin. According to holy war ideology, Nineveh was the target of attacking of Israel. By the way, the prescription of the Book of Jonah is op-posite to this. God sent Jonah to repent the people of Nineveh and saved them Already Isaiah prophesied this event earlier.
"In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance." (Isaiah 19:24-25)
God chose Israel and made them his chosen people to preach his word of salvation to all nations, so that all people in the world would be saved and all people become God's people in order to build one community of mankind. But, Israel did not carry out this mission properly. On the contrary, Israel applied the right of chosen people for herself exclusively.
The Book of Jonah was written in order to correct this wrong understanding of the right of chosen people and to spread God's will to save all people in the world. The book of Jo-nah shows the way of peaceful coexistence of people, not through peace of grave by op-pression and weapon, but through building a community in the Gospel of God.
3) Messiah, King of peace
Prophets of Israel got disappointed in the kings of Israel and could not expect any hope from them. Therefore they expected the ideal king in the future. We call this ideal king Messiah. Some passages on Messiah are as following.
(1) King of justice and peace (Isaiah 11:1-9)
And he will delight in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.(Isaiah 11:3-5)
Isaiah disappointed in the kings and rulers in his time, criticized their suddenness and evil conduct and pronounced an ideal king's appearance. This king is almighty God, king of peace, king of judgment with righteousness and king of rule by justice. When this king comes and reigns, shalom is prevailing not only in human society, but also in the animal world, in the nature(Isaiah 11:6-9).
(2) Humble king riding on a donkey(Zechariah 9, 9-10)
A king comes. This King comes riding on a donkey, because he is humble, He does not ride horse, which is used for the war. He will take away the chariots and the war-horses preferably. And he abolishes all weapons. His ruling method is not military power or vio-lence but peaceful method.
In the history there were many kings who conquered and dominated countries by military power and violence. But their reigns were not long. The king who comes riding on a don-key is the king who reigns to the ends of the earth. The reason is that he rules the world through peaceful method. The king of the world who comes riding on a donkey is Jesus Christ.
2. Peace in the New Testament
Jesus proclaimed the arrival of "The Kingdom of God ". Jesus did not try to build The Kingdom of God by using violence and military power. Jesus himself acknowledged that He is " the king of the Jews" (Mark15: 2.26). But, He said, "My kingdom is different from this world." (John 18:36). The first difference is that He does not use military power.
Jesus prohibited disciples from using violence when he said, "all who draw the sword will die by the sword."(Math. 26:53). He himself said he could use his prerogative of divine power in saying he had more than twelve legions of angels."(Math. 26:53) This idea is in line with the idea of the peace tradition in the Old Testament. This peaceful position of Jesus, who refuses violence and military power, is shown in his teaching on the love of neighbor. Jesus teaches the way of nonviolence consistently:
"Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well."(Math. 5:39-40)
This non-violent love of neighbor extends to the love of enemy. The teaching on the love of neighbor appears not only in Jesus' teaching. It is written also in Lev. 19:18: " Love your neighbor as yourself." But the command "Love your enemies"(Math. 5:44: Luke 6:27-28) is spoken first by Jesus. This command is new.
Jesus is not a king who reigns with sword and spears but a "King of peace" (Ephesians 2,14-18; Cf. Colossians 1: 20; 3:15).
In the New Testament the Greek word for "peace” is "eirene”. "eirene" means the reverse state of war. And "eirene” accomplishes order as reverse of disorder. Also, peace is drawn up in line with "Life" that is reverse state of death (Romans 8, 6; John 16, 33). Jesus is "the King of peace" who drives out war, disorder, trouble and death, and gives "Life" to all mankind.
While Roman peace (Pax Romana) and Britain's peace (Pax Britannica) are pseudo peace that suppress people by violence and suppress with the gun and the sword, Christ's peace (Pax Christi) is eternal and genuine peace that gives life to all mankind. Jesus invites us to this peace and calls us as Peace-maker (Math. 5, 8). .
Through the examination we come to know that the peace in the Old Testament is not a passive peace but an active peace and that its range is very wide. The causes of destroying this peace are very diverse, therefore methods that cure and recover destroyed peace are also diverse and manifold. Only one or two persons, or one or two classes and experts can-not achieve peace. This peace can be achieved by cooperation of all parts of experts (such as in the fields of politics, economy, law, environment, social studies, culture and theology) including all mankind in the world. We are called to peace-maker (Math 5:9). Nobody should not remain as passive in the task of removing causes of destruction of peace. Re-covering and preserving the original peace in the world are our task. The peaceful King-dom of God was already begun in the coming of Jesus, the King of peace. But, it is not completed yet. God calls us as God's co-workers who should work for the completion of Kingdom of God, Kingdom of peace. We have to participate in God’s calling actively.
1. God is Creator of life
Christians confess that God is the creator of life. According to Genesis 1, in the beginning God created lives after He created the heaven and the earth. After God created natural en-vironments, which are indispensable for living beings such as light, water, sea, land and sun, God created plants, birds, fishes, animals and finally the human being. Human being was created in the image of God from the dust of the ground (Gen. 1:27; 2:7).
After God formed the man He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (ruach chai), and the man became a living being (nephesh chayya Gen. 2:7).
God is the giver of life. God is the 'God of Life’ (Num.14:28; Deut.32: 40). Life is a divine gift (Pss. 36:10; 42:8). God is the creator and the Lord of life. So, the whole of creation praise their creator God.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Pss 19:1)
“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" (Rev. 5:13)
2. Human has responsibility to look after life of nature.
After God finished world creation he committed human being to subdue the earth, rule over every living creature" (Gen. 1:28).
"God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living crea-ture that moves on the ground."
Here "rule over creatures" means looking after creatures. The Hebrew verb for "rule over" is “radah” that means "rule, and govern". This verb "radah" is used in the case that king rules people.
"For he ruled over (radah) all the kingdoms west of the River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and had peace on all sides "(1 Kings 4:24)
This means that king of Israel, unlike kings of surrounding countries, should take care of people like brothers (Deut. 17:14-20) and become servant of people(1 Kings 12:7). In this sense "human rules over creature" means that human should look after creatures like brothers and sisters. In other words, "human rules over creature” means that human should take care of creatures as king rules and looks after people (Gen. 1:28). Nevertheless, until today human have treated other creatures cruelly and even exterminated them. We hu-man must repent our sins against other creatures.
The Hebrew word kabash ( בכשׁ ) in Gen. 1:28 means, "subdue, subjugate and tread"(the earth). Does "subdue the earth" mean "conquer and destroy the earth " ? The answer is ab-solutely No. We can find the right meaning of kabash ( בכשׁ ) in Gen. 2:5,15.
"Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground."(Gen. 2:5 New American Standard Bible)
"Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.(Gen. 2:15 New American Standard Bible)
In these two passages the work which human does regarding earth (ground) is the work of "cultivation." Therefore, we must interpret "subdue the earth" in Gen. 1:28 as "cultivate the earth”. The commitment "rule over creatures and subdue the earth " means "take care of creatures and cultivate the earth." Not only human's life is valuable but also life of ani-mals and other creatures is valuable. The relationship between human and nature is a coex-istent and symbiotic. Without nature human's life cannot be maintained. Therefore Human should not destroy and exterminate nature one-sided. By the way, human have misunder-stood the commitment of God in Gen. 1:28 and have squeezed out life on the earth and destroyed it. We human should repent of our behavior towards nature.
At first God did not allow human being animal meat but allowed only vegetable food (Gen.1: 29).
"Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food." (Gen. 1:29-30) Since the deluge God allowed animal meat to human (Gen. 9:3-4). But God pro-hibited human from eating an animal with its blood.
"Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it."(Gen. 9:3-4)
After the deluge God allowed wild animals to prey on other animals for food, I believe.
3. Destruction of Life
The world of shalom created by God includes shalom of nature in which all nature are preserved as God created in the beginning completely. By the way, today, the destruction of nature across the world is very serious. Every year, tropical rain forest is been destroyed. It is equivalent to 3/4 of South Korea or 2 times of Swiss.
Scientists presume that about one million species of plant and animal on the earth may die out through destruction of the forest and the ecosystem at end of 20th century. Every year, 14,000 people are dying from insecticide. Wide use of Chemistry is increasing pollution of water at the fast, and as the result cancer and deformed child are increasing. This destruc-tion of nature originates in immoderate greed of human and mistaken view on nature. The tendency of despising life is a worldwide phenomenon. Life is more precious than the whole world. Cain, a son of Adam and Eve, was the first murderer in the human history (Gen. 4:8). Since then a great many murder are committed on this earth up to the present. Especially, the war is the main culprit through large-scale massacre. A long cherished desire of Human being is to stop the war and to accomplish peace. The supreme task of Christi-anity is to make war cease and to accomplish peace(Math. 5:9).
Artificial abortion is one aspect of destruction of human life. "In the contemporary moral discourse, the issue of the right to life is most often raised with respect to the question of the right of a fetusnot to be aborted. That is, the fetus's putative right to life occurs as one of two conflicting rights claims, the other claim being the pregnant woman's right to pri-vacy, which is the generic right..."(H. Alderman, Life, right to, Encyclopedia of Ethics Vol. 2, p. 1002)
The life world in the Bible is depicted as a world of coexistence, complementing and help-ing each other between human and nature. But, all other living beings on the earth are be-ing threatened by destruction of nature by human beings. Pollution of air, destruction of ozone layer and destruction of forest are causes of death of animal and fish, extinction of other living beings. These phenomena will be accelerated across the world. The Phenom-ena described in the Book of Revelation is happening in the world today.
"The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water-the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter."(Rev. 8:7-11)
According to this text, a third of the earth, the trees and all the green grass will be burned up, and a third of the sea will turn into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea will die, and a third of the waters will turn bitter, and many people will die from the waters that become bitter. Now these horrible phenomena are happening on the earth and in the sea. Everywhere on the earth, forests including Amazonian virgin forests are being destroyed and desertification is spreading rapidly. Fish are dying because of pollution of river and sea. This phenomenon will be accelerated. If we do not prevent this phenomenon, then the whole earth may be laid to unrecoverable waste. Recovery of this damaged nature is our urgent assignment. Our attitude toward nature must be changed. Already 2000 years ago St. Paul said that the creation expects its liberation from its bondage and the glorious freedom of the children of God.
“The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the crea-tion was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole crea-tion has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.“ (Romans 8:19-22)
4. Human and nature are coexistence and interdependent
Human and nature are God's creatures. Their relationship is not that of ruler and the gov-erned or master and servant, but that of coexistence and interdependence. All the species share the world.
"Individual existence is not self-contained. Life is co-existence with other individuals of the same kind. This co-existence implies co-operation and mutual dependence. Life would not be possible if we were not living in a universe which is so arranged that each individual find food and shelter"(Gen. 1:28-30; Pss. 104:27-28; 145:15; 147:8-9; cf. Luke 12:24).
Life is not only mutual dependence and co-existence, but is also destined to be lived for mutual help. The individual's life is God's property. Hence the individual has no right to de-stroy his own life or want only to kill other life (Exodus. 20:13). The value of life can be seen in God's care for the preservation of the animal realm (Gen. 1:30; 7:2-3; Ps. 145:15)
For a long time, we have thought only human's salvation. But now we must change our view of salvation totally. Paradigm shift of salvation should be achieved. God's plan of sal-vation does not limit to only humans. God is planning salvation including the nature. About 2700 years ago Isaiah, the prophet, dreamed the recovery of the creation world like this:
"The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,
and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea."(Isaiah 11:6 - 9)
“The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
but dust will be the serpent's food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,"
says the LORD.” (Isaiah 65 : 25 . Cf. Hosea 2, 18 ; Ezekiel 34, 25) .
These texts depict the peace of the animal world. Human does not ill-treat animal and wild animal does not eat weak animal anymore, this is the completion of salvation that God de-sires.
5. Jesus is giver of true life
Jesus is giver of true life (ζωη). Jesus himself is the life(John 14:6)
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life (ζωη). No one comes to the Fa-ther except through me." (John 14:6)
"For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself."(John 5:26)
Jesus said He is the bread of life (John 6:35):
"Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)
Jesus is Lord of life. Jesus has brought the true life to light (II Tim 1:10). The natural life is no longer considered as being merely less perfect the true life, but rather as the perversion of the divine gift.
The new or true life is God's gracious gift (John 6:63; Rom. 4:17)
There is “an accurate grasp of the distinction between mere existence, or natural life and true or authentic life in Christ (J.B. Long, Life, The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol.8, p. 543).
What is true life? It is the Christian view of life that natural life is not true life, but the life born again of water and the Spirit is true life. God created human in his own image (win-dow 1:26-27) . Human was created, as existence of eternal life but became existence of death because of sin. But human receives the way to the eternal life through Jesus Christ. By Jesus' blood human get the way to true life (eternal life) out of natural life (death). Je-sus opened the way that recovers true life to human who lost true life. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6). Not only human's life is valuable, but also all lives are precious. Lives of animal, plant and micro-organism are also precious. Jesus is He who restores all lives as well as human's life to the original state. We should participate in this movement of life restoration. Movement for recovering Life is urgent.
The Human being is destined to live for God. The true nature of life consists in doing God's will (Lev. 18:5; Prov. 15:27) or feeding on God's word (Deut. 32:47). Apart from it, no good life may be expected. To those who keep God's commandments, long life and happiness are promised.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”(Math. 5:9)
Prof. Dr. YIM Tae-Soo, Hoseo University, Korea