By: Paul Murano – 12-23
Let’s play an imagination game. Let’s imagine that the invisible almighty Creator of the universe, who infinitely transcends the created order of time, space and matter, decided to become part of His creation. Like an author who writes Himself into his own novel, or an artist who paints himself into his own masterpiece, let’s imagine the God of the universe chose to become part of His creation.
Impossible, you might say. How could an eternal spiritual being that transcends creation possibly become so diminished as to enter space and time to become a mortal finite being? We could ask a similar question about the painter or the author. How could one possibly become a two dimensional being on a canvas or the other a character that comes alive within the pages of a book?
Yet, in both instances, they are able to do it. The analogy for the eternal almighty Creator holds: It is possible to exist in two different dimensions, in two realms of reality (time and eternity), simultaneously.
And then, if this were to ever occur, if God were to become a mere human being – “If God was one of us” as pop singer Joan Osborne once imagined – wouldn’t everyone’s natural reaction be absolute awe? Wow. It would seem everyone’s first priority, by far, would be eagerly to know what He said and did. What could be more important?
Let us take stock of all the world’s great religious leaders in history. Have any of them made such an unimaginably lofty claim? Buddha never said he was God. Nor did Abraham or Moses claim divinity. Mohammed never made such a claim, nor did the Dalai Lama, Mani, Lao Tzu, or Confucius.
Every other religious leader claimed to have an enlightened message or a way of life to share; but none of them claimed to come down from Heaven to take on a human nature – except for Jesus. Virtually all non-Christian scholars concur that Jesus was a historical person and that He claimed to be God. Indeed, He is the only bona fide religious leader in history to make this claim.
This must be taken further. By following reason, one must consider the meaning of this unfathomable claim. One conclusion we can be certain of, without any religious faith, is that Jesus cannot be what most non-Christians claim Him to be: merely an enlightened teacher or prophet. That’s because, as C.S. Lewis once pointed out, for someone to claim to be God, and if that claim is false, he would have to be either a liar or a lunatic. In other words, if the claimant isn’t God he’s either delusional or evil. Logic dictates, therefore, that if Jesus is not what He said He was, He could never be trusted as a teacher or prophet.
Since logic limits the possibilities of Jesus’ true identity to Lord, liar, or lunatic, let us look at them a little closer. Would a liar possess the moral character of Jesus? Would a deliberate deceiver hold to His principles unto death if he could have slivered out of it as a skilled liar? And could such a lie last over two millennia? Most lies are uncovered rather quickly.
The next option, being crazy or delusional, would elicit as little trust as being a liar. And could someone who is mentally deranged be so lucid in His parables and sermons, and so masterful in His verbiage when stumping the Scribes and Pharisees – who at the time, themselves, were masters of self-serving deception? Any honest person who reads the gospels, with or without faith, knows that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic.
This leaves only one viable option, only one possibility for Jesus’ true identity: He is the incarnate God who came down from Heaven to reconcile us to the Father for our eternal salvation. No other option is feasible.
During this Advent and Christmas season it is fitting to express that awe mentioned above: Awe that the one God of the universe was born to the world, through Mary, in the small Middle-Eastern town of Bethlehem. As we celebrate the birthday of the incarnate second Person of the Trinity, there’s no time like the present to make a (deeper) commitment to know and love the God who humbled Himself to become human, to suffer and to die in order to conquer death for the rest of us.
Merry Christmas and happy newness of life.
Paul Murano is producer and host of Beneath the Surface video podcast, and has taught college philosophy & theology for over 15 years. Check out his website and YouTube channel at www.Paulmurano.com and www.Youtube.com/Veritas3737. E-mail Paul at PJDM@aol.com