Thursday, September 22, 2011

What began as a thought at one in the morning...

            When C.S. Lewis wrote Narnia, he was operating from a simple question: what might a world be like if Christ, having taken the form of a man here, took the form of a lion there? With that in mind, at one in the morning I asked a different question: what does the person of Jesus Christ do to our perception of God? (Note: this no longer has anything to do with C. S. Lewis)
Karl Barth, because he’s awesome, and most of the things he says are awesome, finds a special significance in the name “Emmanuel,” or “God with us.” He sees it as primarily a statement about God: “that it is He who is with them as God.” But it is also a statement about us: “It tells us that we ourselves are in the sphere of God. It applies to us by telling us of a history which God wills to share with us and therefore [it tells us] of an invasion of our history—indeed, of the real truth about our history as a history which is by Him, and from Him and to Him.” He goes on to say that ultimately, “God with us,” the primary act and being of God as He relates to us, finds its fulfillment and completion in  Jesus Christ.
Pat of what I think he’s saying is this: Jesus Christ changes everything about our conception of God. He has to change everything.  He changes how we think about God in Himself, and he changes how we think about God in relation to us. Any way of thinking about God that attempts to exclude Christ from the picture will be horribly incomplete.  The God we worship must be the God who came down to us not only as God, but as man. The God we serve must be the God who served us. The God we fight for must be the God who fought for us, and the God we die for must be the God who died for us.
Any God which does not share this sense of patience, of suffering, of condescension, of ultimate faithfulness in the face of ultimate faithlessness, is not our God. Any God who is high without once having chosen to be low is not our God, any God who is strong without once choosing to be weak is not our God.  Any God who is too proud to stoop down to his people is not our God.
This all came up as I was thinking about what to write. As to how this relates… if Jesus Christ is the defining thing in our knowledge of God, that means he is the defining thing in our knowledge of the everything. How, then, am I to write a complete story yet leave him out? That would require a world in which very nearly everything is fundamentally different: and inevitably for the worse. Thoughts?

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