Purity of the Splendour and
the Depth of the Wonder of the Celestial …
that by Contrast, Makes Clay-mindedness,
a Shadow in the Sun
In … Immovable Faith Ch. 3, the sheer delight of the power and presentation of divinity, in humanity, was considered from various aspects. One of these concerned the station of the One who came to earth from the eternity of His life in heaven (I John 1:1-4 makes this dramatically clear, and impactive), when yet in heaven.
Evocative indeed is the thought of the non-biologically conceived SON IN HEAVEN, outside time and before incarnation, in that in that place is neither marriage nor giving in marriage, and no gender is relevant in non-procreation. Splendid there is the expression of the eternal Word of God, neither masculine nor feminine, yet One who is eternally fitting for being the Son of God, in that the format which He eventually took, on entering the processes of our time*1, had to reflect the actuality which was eternally present. It was Himself who came, changing the format of eternity to the garment of time, while still in His innermost Being having the most intimate communion in heaven, as heavenly and indeed deity (John 1:1-14, 3:13, 8:58). Thus we learn not only that He is the sole One who has come down from heaven, and IS in heaven, His place of entity and standing, the permanent address, and that before Abraham was, He AS the "I am" was present.
Luke 1:35 presents the nature of the grand event of all time, which was so soon to show its reality in those other two companions in honour, His crucifixion and resurrection, themselves inordinately fascinating since the power He had shown in word and deed, in His life, were now summarily tested, just as initially, summatively invested. .
“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ”
Thus when that intimate and eternal Word of God became man,
via a virgin birth and the intervention of God in the correlative of
procreation, in imparting to the womb of Mary the reality to become that child,
through her, there are fascinating areas for understanding. It is because
the Holy Spirit overshadows the one chosen for His birth into this world, that
His name is "the Son of God". It is not a physical action from a non-spiritual
being in the domain of flesh, but it is tantamount to it, in that the One who
makes the processes can proceed without them in the same resultant.
It is because the Holy Spirit overshadows the one chosen for His birth into this world, that His name is "the Son of God". It is not a physical action from a non-spiritual being in the domain of flesh, but it is tantamount to it, in that the One who makes the processes can proceed without them in the same resultant.
Accordingly, Hebrews speaks of His becoming PERFECT, fully furnished in stature as a man, through the things that He suffered. Let us understand this, for it is part of the work of Biblical Christian Apologetics, to show the coherence and consistency, the depth and delightful light in the things of God.
THE HYPOTHETICAL, THE ANTITHETICAL AND THE ACTUAL
We saw on at an earlier time, that SINCE Christ as man WOULD experience IN man the nature of obedience, in the processive reality which man has, this was ONE WAY God the Trinity knew this precise thing and did not gain in knowledge through the eventuation of history.
That is, He divinely FOREKNEW this element, this item, this datum.
This relates to Hebrews 5:8-9 telling us that Christ learned (the meaning of, as a man) obedience by the things He endured. It relates likewise to Hebrews 2:10, where it is stated that it was FITTING to bring to a culminating conclusion the growth in Christ AS MAN, through suffering. That is the sense there of the word translated 'perfected' there: the 'perfection' means: completion, culmination.
Someone however might ask this: IF Christ had NOT in fact done this, and THUS if God had not FOR THAT EVENTUATION known it, then
a) would He, and
b) could He, know it ?
Clearly as omniscient He COULD. He could invest with a reality as real as He chose, even for what had not come to pass, even indeed, for what WOULD not come to pass, if He so chose: for imagination and knowledge alike have no limits to Him whose understanding in infinite (Psalm 147:5).
Before we proceed, however, you might then ask, HOW could Christ grow in knowledge then, if WITHOUT the eventuation of suffering as a man, the Trinity of which He is one, could know it ? COULD know it ? What if, however, God chose to know it from personal experience as well, in the form of a man, and as a man with a personality which endured the test in reality, not in a wind tunnel but in a life threat ?
He COULD envisage this ? Of course, but in SUFFERING it He exhibited
a) His integrity
b) His love
c) His dependability and of course there is one thing more.
God AS MAN had a unique experience that mere knowledge could not duplicate. BEING that Person as man, He validated to man the reality which is His, IN that form. He also if you like - launched the ship, sent off the 'plane, and it floated/flew. Knowledge became actuality. It was in the actuality into which Christ AS that being, duly and in all profundity grew, that lay the unique: in man as man, for man. (It was fitting as Hebrews declares, in Ch. 2.) Not necessity, but propriety operated.
God COULD know the precise things without Christ becoming man; but Christ in becoming man knew them IN a man! Knowledge is not always increased by actuality, but actuality does what knowledge per se has not done.
But WOULD God want to know such a thing, if Christ had not come ? That is a volitional matter. IF CHRIST had not come, God would be entirely OTHER THAN He is. He would not be love. Thus the question involves this point. Would He deign to know knowable things hostile to truth, judged evil by Himself, mistaken, contrary to Himself and to history alike, the history which He ordained, averse to His character, and most intense desire ?
Were He other and had He no desire to send Christ, would He want it, this knowledge, and if not, would He bother with, indeed tolerate it ? To some things, He is averse: for example He not only DOES not but CAN NOT lie. Desire and demeanour alike are contrary to it.
God CANNOT lie, says Titus 1 (cf. . Barbs 6 -7). . This is excluded: it would invalidate the divine validity, desecrate His reality and abort His beauty. It is not imposed on Him, but quintessentially abhorrent, and a contradiction of His character, of His own works with His own words, freely given, a patent divorce of integrity in the sense of being ONE, not two contrary characters, the verbal and the operational. So to act, to use Paul's language to Timothy, would be TO DENY HIMSELF.
It seems therefore quite proper to envisage the possibility - especially since any God who did not send Christ would NOT IN FACT BE GOD - that is, if Christ had not come, the Trinity might disaffect such knowledge. However since God's "I am" brooks no other, no other person, no other character, no other nature and no other inclination, the question is rather more than hypothetical: it here is dealing with the antithetical, with what God is not: and such dealings fall to nothing before His light.
Christ DID come, the Trinity DID know the end from the beginning, but CHRIST AS MAN learned in the form of a man. The deity knew in the FORM of deity (Philippians 2), but Christ learned in the FORM of man! No, more: He was brought to culmination and completion by the things that He suffered (Hebrews ). Would He have been incomplete as man without it ? For this purpose, yes. He would lack that IN-MAN experience of being brought to completion as man, through the clangour of challenge, the bite of test and the bellowing of evil. This completed the entirety of the incarnation in its developmental phase. It also consummated His pastoral magnificence, in that not imagination, or even knowledge, but actualising experience wrought in Him, in man's form.
This ? It was fitting.
In thrusts into history: God knowing Himself, knows also His reasons and His results. His knowledge is embracive, and at will dispersive. While nothing can escape His eye, He is under no obligation to bear before Himself what is of a contrary spirit, but may consign at will to darkness. (See Habakkuk 1:13.)
Further, the celestial beauty of being willing to suffer and to suffer completion in the stature of manhood through such means is a clear attestation of the ontological depth of love; for God IS love. It shows in the quality of what He does, its insistence and its consistency, its persistence and its power, its beauty above mankind and its suffusing wonder which by His Spirit He can imbue into mankind. So arrayed in humility that was willing to come to such a culmination in such a format as man, and as sublime, meet the sentence for all who so receive Him, He became the Author of salvation for man.
Contrasting this with man, you come to see the all but incredible wonder of God on the one hand, and the obviously unworkable ‘alternative’ option of earthiness which man in his push, thrust and thoughtlessness, his evil machinations and his self-centred devices, diabolically inspired since what is less than and other than the way of God is infinitely less, He alone being infinite. Hence the world is as it is, and as it grows old, resembling adults whose character imprints on their stoop and their creases, it yearns amiss*1, as if psychology were a mere event, and stumps, stomps, slithers and collides, each with each, like ants gone mad, like traffic in snow.
Man withers, but the way of God is always in bloom, never losing its freshness, its hygienic peace or its ebullient happiness: REJOICE EVERMORE, says Paul. To know God IS to rejoice! To BELONG to Him, this is in itself a culmination! (Ephesians 1:6, John 10:27-28, I Thessalonians 5:16). This love, in the heart of the redeemed, themselves refurbished and re-constituted, is its own testimony; but at the same time, with that ever-present wedding of doctrine and reality which is one of the most characteristic features of the work of God in man, it is wrought by God, His Spirit assuring our spirits that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16).
THE AUTHENTIC UPLIFT
WHICH NEITHER DISDAINS
THE CLAY OF MAN’S BODILY COMPOSITION
NOR RESTS IN IT
In this way, the man of God is, in the end, the man whose life is restored, whose fall from the heavenly places of divinely composed and accorded perspective (like someone in a well-equipped airplane, soaring, watching, seeing the disposition of things below), active from birth, is now put past the yearnings of the soiled spirit to the burnings of active grace, like fire in a prepared hearth.
So the earth, and so the heavens, not mere space but the divine environment, the personal and close accord with the Creator, the Redeemer, the Saviour, are able to move back to their original disposition for glory, and man can both be warmed in his hearth and be aloft in the beauty of the heights better than any space (Ephesians 2:6, Colossians 1:13); for their source is the splendour of that great Original, the Originator, whose beauty is merely dimly reflected in the magnitudes and aura of space, whose craft in the magnificent life Christ, even proceeding from eternity to the Cross is His calling card, and whose love is not, any more than any other real love, exposed to sham and shambles, as is lust.
This intricately wrought clay ((cf. Psalm 139, Joyful
Jottings 16, The
The link is not automatic. It is not supplied at birth. It is supplied by God, to whom it relates, whose household of faith brooks no adventitious entrants, no leapers over walls (John 10), no intrusive princes of mockery or arrogance, no lords of lusts, be they mental, spiritual or physical, or indeed some combination of these. The supply, more necessary than food to Africa, peace to the Middle East and truth for the meretricious maunderings of the terrorist, is free like food to the starving, but costly in its entrance; for it must be received by the spiritual mouth (John 6:50ff.).
It is not bulk billed, but personally contrived. The gift of God to man is not necessary in the realm of creation, not merely natural or an acquisition for the violent, who by killing both John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ thought to take it by force. It is for a kingdom of truth. It is given in grace (Romans , Titus 2-3, Ephesians 2), received in repentance and wrought by an action far greater than that of creation, itself an action of the infinite God. It is basic to the individual, and from it comes the family of God.
This gift is by prescription, personal for any, generic for all, and it is in terms clearly laid down, and not speculatively ascertainable, like those of any manufacturer, though free, given at his will. It is invariable as is any medicine, the product of vast research; but this proceeds from the infinitude of magnificence in the mind and heart of God Himself. This is termed ‘the Gospel’ and it relates not to man’s eminence, but to his fall; it is not for his ennoblement to become yet ‘greater’, but for his rescue; though if there is anything noble, it is in God to whom the saved spirit of the rescued and redeemed human then goes, from whom takes its course and whose delight is then in His cause.
The fallen flesh of man, in the mind of God, is met by the crucified flesh of Christ; the ignoble self-assertion and enormity of man trying to fulfil himself, if that, instead of His Creator who made Him, this is met by the humility of the Holy One who, coming as a baby in incarnation, was met not with acclamation in the end, but with an incarceration so terrible, that its thrust was to deprive Him of flesh itself. Naturally, as the supernatural entrant from eternity, from the very form of God (Philippians 2), He did not languish in death, but did indeed suffer it. Breaking death’s bonds, as Samson broke the new cords to bind his supernaturally endowed strength, Christ created the Christian church by being the first one to go to death and not merely evacuate it (like Lazarus, at His earlier miraculous work and word – John 11, a preparation), but eviscerate its strength. He met its ground, the cost of sin, and paid; and so in leaving death in ruin (“Death, I will be your plagues!” – Hosea ), He presented eternal life as the supernaturally conceived, but naturally achieved result for the ruined creation, man.
It is this ruin, intoxicated with its fall, unredeemed man, which now in perfect consistency with its folly, brings to ruin the good, destroys the creation with radioactivity, invades space with this toxic pestilence, and then allows it to drop to earth to pollute the oceans or anything else that it may, collapsing, hit. It is this which seeks to elevate itself, still poisonous, to the heavens, and to rule them, God or anything else that is around, in the arrogant intensity of a prodigious impudence and an inglorious blindness.
As power grows in man, as time allows his donated wits to work among the four books and six dimensions so clear in his realm*3, those of the unity in the creation and for it, he therefore has more dynamic to destroy. It is now that man comes to ‘natural’ age, an inglorious event, so that, after many vicious wars of late, from 1902 to the present, massing like the troops of history, to destroy his peace, he is both desperate and deprived. Yet as is the nature of sin, instead of rushing to the realisation of the most wonderful project of all time, produced before it and alone adequate for it and in it, to the Gospel of God’s redemption, in that only redeemer, Jesus Christ, that only Saviour of the individual and King of the a kingdom which shall not perish (Daniel 7:25), man rushes from it, headlong to the disaster defined in the prophets for thousands of years.
Eminently displayed in Isaiah (as in Ch. 24), in Joel, in Habakkuk and Micah, as in the Psalms, the plan of it apparent in Deuteronomy, the scope of it in Ezekiel, its detail in horror, in Revelation and Matthew 24, Luke 21. In such ways, this disaster to come is matched to the Gospel splendour already present and to become like the sun after the delicacy of dawn, a torrent of wonder in its time (Matthew 13:13:43), that millennium to rebuke the cynic and to allow the righteous to shine as the sun. Past all that is the haven of the heaven in which God, who made man, is calling him home (John 14:1ff., I Thessalonians 5:9-10, Revelation 20-22). When heaven and earth flee, the lair of deceit is no more, and truth penetrating all, judges all, and in judging, judges this, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation”, as Paul declared (II Corinthians 5:17-21). This is no sinecure for sin, but the ground of its exposure; and its comfort is not comportable with evil, but with repentance to life (Acts ), that grant of God which so few receive (Matthew -21), with such inevitable results (cf. Matthew 22:1-4).
The cover of the clothing of Christ, His imputed righteousness (cf. The Biblical Workman, Appendix 4) which contains the exuberance of His light, like an encapsulated sun, is quintessential more than any space suit; and its absence as in the parable of Matthew 22, is more fatal than is any lapse of an astronaut, walking suitless into space! Man is in clay, and needs his cover, for within the clay is a mind, and a spirit to devise; but alas the devices he devises are far from divine, and even in his righteousness, self-righteousness comes like mildew on roses, or black spot on the beauty, to destroy all (cf. Romans 10).
Clay can have wonderful things done with it, as in the body of man; just as even man can do his exceedingly more lowly and less exalted wonders with silicon in the ‘chip’. It is what man, given a spirit of review, roving and thought, understanding and a will with which to express liberty, then does, and what he does or does not receive, which is crucial*4. If he chooses to wander in the Clay Works, like the Wax Works of London, dead among the dead, in some semi-automated version, then so be it. He is however made for the celestial, for the companionship of the Lord, expressed in the most intimate and personal way in Jesus Christ (cf. John 21), gifted for love.
Man, then ? When he tries to hate, he is as inept as an elephant on roller skates. He falls constantly, and his sheer bulk of ineptitude verging on the comic, naturally enough converges on the very depths of tragedy. There are many chasms amongst the serene seeming beauty of the lofty headlands!
This hatred, or this love of self which is a hatred of God transmuted, this arbitrary self and all its squalid and often pretentiously exalted ways, it is as unnecessary as a temper tantrum; this rebellion is an assault on reality, and since in man is some of it, it is an assault on himself. In insulting his Creator, or variously imagining gods*5 which are not there, to meet his cultural clime or personal desire, man is vacuously assaulting himself; for not merely is he killing his own mechanic (in spirit by disregard, as once for all in body at the Cross), but he is dismissing the call of the celestial, like an invitation to a party dropped in the rubbish bin. The very rubbish container blushes, and the red is like the flood of blood which man, impenitent and foolish, spreads over the earth as tens of millions fall to the papacy of old, the communism still active in vast deaths and the jihad, which like an endlessly jigging tea-bag, makes acid the earth. To this, his mere murders, his rapes and rapacity is added, like potassium cyanide to a nice mixture of arsenic, and he wonders … he even blames God … what is wrong ?
He has been told for literal ages what is wrong*6, and as Christ put it, “except you repent, you will all likewise perish.” What could you expect ? (Luke 13:1-3). Is it then the heyday of clay ? No, it is the fell day of rambunctious spirit, that may weep for its suffering, but not for its sin; or weeping, weeps for the key to the door of the throne room, not for the Cross of Christ, the gate to glory, even the glory of God (Galatians 6:14, 3:1-10, 5:1ff.).
This aspect is shown well in Luke 1:35 with Hebrews 1:3 and Micah 5:1-3, John 8:58, I John 1:1-4.
Because (Luke ) God so overshadowed Mary, the word of God declares, “therefore” the babe would be called the Son of God. What God begot is certainly God, but the PERSON concerned was both in the form of God before incarnation, equal in eternity with God (Philippians 2:6-7) and acting eternally (Miach 5:1-3, Isaiah 48:16): God Himself.
There being One God (Ephesians 4:4) and none like Him (Psalm 89:6), Christ is identical entirely in nature (Hebrews 1:1-3) with God, hence always there (“I am”, John 8:58), with Him, God, the Rock of Ages, the King of Eternity: for he who has seen Him HAS seen the Father (John 14).
What then ? as the eternal expression of the Eternal God, on coming in human format to forge salvation for man, He “therefore” received the title “the Son of God” as Luke declares. This expressed in human terms the eternal fact, where neither male nor female is, of His dynamic and intrinsic function with the Godhead. Shone into flesh, conceived into manhood, He did the salvation which ONLY GOD CAN DO (Isaiah 43:10-11), indeed such that there is NO OTHER NAME by which we MUST be saved (Acts -12).
*2 These as much attest his origin, in its aborted pangs, as does his inveterate rebellion and flouting of all rectitude, in deeds so horrible that history itself recoils, and man in his guilt, laments at times an evil of decline that he refuses, true to the lie, to have remedied.
*3 See Repent or Perish
*5 See Aviary of Idolatry, Appendix IV in Barbs, Arrows and Balms.