Monday, August 13, 2012

You are what you think #2 - God as a human

Have you ever taken the time to think about the wierdness and mystery involved in the Christian belief that God became human (or incarnated if you want to use the theological term)? And that while God was walking around in the human form of Jesus, God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were also present and fully accounted for at the same time (the Trinity)?

If I think about either of these ideas too much, I start to feel like my head is going to explode. When I was a child my father explained the Trinity to me with the example of a pot of boiling into which you threw some ice cubes. It had three forms of water (liquid, solid, gas) all at the same time. It was not perfect but it was pretty good comparison for a 13 year old. Later, I had more sophisticated questions - similar to the ones the leaders of the early church wrestled with as the first creeds of the Church were written and agreed upon as truth and correct doctrine. Questions such as "how was Jesus God"? Was Jesus really just God in a human skin suit (sort of like when your kids dress up at Halloween)? Or was Jesus simply a human who God chose to work through in very powerful ways?

The early Church, using the Scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles agreed that the only way Jesus could have been truly God and yet still a human was to be fully both - the outcome of the incar
inational mystery that we cannot really understand yet believe because of Faith.

(Remember last week I stated that if you don't believe the Scriptures are truly the word of God and a real witness to His work in our world, then you can't believe any of the other Christian beliefs because they all rest on the belief that the Bible is truth.)

Breaking down the doctrine of the incarnation and the Trinity won't really get you anywhere except back to the understanding that you have to take them on faith. What looking at these two ideas will do for the Christ follower is show him/her how much God truly loves those He has created. Except for God loving us with a love that is wider, longer, higher and deeper than we can ever understand, there is no reason for Him to have become incarnated only to die on a cross that we might have salvation and forgiveness. Except for God being three - in - one, there is no way for us to have understood His sacrficial love through the life and death of Jesus or to be guided by his Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

The Christian faith is not simple because it doesn't come from our human minds. It is not a religion that we make up as we go along. We do not worship a god that we created from clay or gold and can control by making 'deals' with it. We worship a God who is far beyond our understanding and our control - and yet we worship a God who has made it very clear to us that He loves us beyond anything we can understand or reason out.

We might not be able to rationally make sense of the Christian doctrines of the Incarnation or the Trinity - but God has made sure (through his scriptures, the life of Jesus Christ, and the movement of the Holy Spirit) that we can understand that he loves us. This love is the knowledge that we need to come away with from these two ideas.

Chesney Szaniszlo

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  - Ephesians 3 16-19