“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Paradox of Christ: God and Man

…Another paradox can be observed in the being of God himself. In the person of Jesus Christ, God became a man. Jesus Christ is both a human being and the second person of the Trinity. Put simply, this man, Jesus, was and is the God of the universe. It is a shocking statement.

“Christ Jesus…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” – Philippians 2:5-7
“The Word was God” (John 1:1) and “the Word became flesh” (John 1:14) – in Christ God revealed his glory to his people as never before in history, yet this was done in the humble act of incarnation, becoming flesh. This person, this God-man, both exists eternally outside of and beyond time as the omniscient, omnipotent Creator (John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2) and came into existence within time at a specific point.* He emptied himself (Philippians 2:7, “made himself nothing”) of the full extent of his divine qualities (presumably knowledge, comprehension, etc.) and took upon himself the limited, finite mind and body of man. The implications of this are quite interesting. For example, as a man, the divine author of mathematics would have been, like all humans, fallible in his human understanding of mathematics. The designer of the universe would have been, as a 1st-century Jew, completely oblivious to the wonders of quantum mechanics and relativity by which the world functions. How strange, this divine emptying, this kenosis, in which the God of all reality “makes himself nothing” and gives himself for man out of love, becomes incarnate that man might be deified:
“He came below to raise me above, he was born like me that I might become like him.” – The Valley of Vision, p. 16
*There is something of a paradox in the virgin birth. Mary was a virgin, and she conceived and gave birth to Jesus. It is not a logical contradiction, but a miraculous event, unique in history.

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