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For Christmas: the Incarnation

December 23, 2013

Have you ever seen a number? For example, the number one?

Many people will answer, "Of course! Everyone has seen '1'. It's one of the first things that you learn, as a baby!" But '1' is not the number one - it is a character that represents that abstract concept of the number one. Different cultures at different times have used different characters for it, but the concept is not the character.

You may have seen one apple, one car, or one galaxy, but none of those things are actually the number one. You have never seen the number one, nor sensed it by any of your other faculties. What, then, is the number one? And what would it be like, if the abstract concept itself was somehow actually in front of you? Would you be able to touch it, or interact with it in any other way? What would happen to you if you did? For that matter, what would happen to the universe? You just touched - actually, physically interacted with - an abstract concept which underlies mathematics and therefore the whole universe. What happens? Would it be really possible? In fact, what kind of universe would this need to be, in order for any of the above to be allowed to happen?

God is a spirit. He exists beyond our universe. He is further back from us than even mathematical objects like numbers. As far as we flesh-bags are concerned, he is invisible, unknowable, and inaccessible. He is indistinguishable from an Lovecraftian eldritch abomination. His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are a mystery to us. He is utterly separate from us.

But in a supreme miracle that explains all other miracles, that very God - the one that is holy and therefore alien and separate from us - came down and chose to become one of these flesh bags called homo sapiens. That is what Jesus Christ is.

Now you may think this is impossible. You may say, "You can't touch things like spirits or numbers. Abstract concepts cannot directly interact with physical things. The infinite God cannot fit into a finite man". To be sure, this isn't something that just happens. But what if God wanted to make it happen, despite it being "impossible"? What would he need to do? Maybe he'd need to re-write the rules of physic and mathematics and even logic? Would he need to edit the whole universe?

Perhaps even create the whole universe?

The universe is the way it is because it was created to allow God to come into it as Christ. The universe has the laws and the parameters that it does precisely for the purpose of the Incarnation. I had wondered in the past what it meant that Christ created the world (John 1:3Col.1:15-20) - isn't the creation of the world something usually associated with God the Father? Yet the Bible clearly states that the world was made by, for, and through Jesus Christ.

What does it mean that Christ created the world? It means that he was incarnated into the world. Otherwise, what has God (who is a spirit) to do with the world (which is physical)? To physically create the world, God - the One Father of All - breathed into the world his Secret Fire, the Imperishable Flame, the One that belongs only with God. He did so to "let these things be" - so that his plans and intentions would become physical reality through his Word.

The form of that Flame is none other than Christ come into the world. Merry Christmas to you all - for on that day the universe was (ontologically, not temporally) created.


You may next want to read:
The Incarnation: Why did Jesus come into the world?
Christian predictions on the future of science (part 2)
Another post, from the table of contents

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