The wilderness temptation

desert-grass-404221-xl nat. geo.

Consider the temptation in the wilderness. Bishop James Pike thought this was vital to understanding JC, and I suspect he’s right. The Gospels say he was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by Satan. What does all of that mean?

There is of course mythological precedent for this: it is the vision quest, the acquiring of power. Yet in the ethnological canon this sort of experience normally begins with a number of practice runs, as it were. And one has the experience as a youth, not a full-grown adult. Moreover, there is coaching from one’s elders. The child goes out for ever longer periods, always fasting and struggling to stay awake, hoping for a kindly visitor to take pity and confer power.

Christ’s experience is strikingly different: (a) he is an adult, (b) he fasts, we are told, for an extraordinarily (indeed inhumanly) long period, (c) his visitor is not kindly at all, though Continue reading