by Ernest O’Neill
Most of us believe that there is some Being somewhere who created the universe. It’s too irrational to imagine that this complex network of planets came from nowhere. Someone somewhere must have created the original thing that exploded or evolved into what we know as the planet Earth.
Most of us also believe that God is as good a name as any to designate this creator. We think that God may be different from us in many ways, but we certainly feel he cannot be less personal than we are. He must be as personal as we are — otherwise, how could he have designed or made us?!
Few of us think that he knows us! By analogy with the limitations we face in a mass-society we infer that he cannot possibly be aware of our personal existence. The president or the prime minister doesn’t know us — so how can the God who made everything and everyone that exists through the centuries?
Thus most of us, who believe there must be a god somewhere who created everything, are deists. We believe in a deity, but we believe he made the universe millions of years ago, wound it up, and then let it run itself. We doubt if he ever looks down at little creatures like ourselves — and we doubt he has any time to waste on the details of our petty lives!
How Close Are You to God?
All of the above is our misconception! And that is why Jesus is such “good news”. We think of him as a Jewish carpenter born around 4 b.c. and killed around 29 a.d.. But the historically reliable information we have of him is that his body was never found after his resurrection because his life existed outside this time-space world of ours. In other words he existed before he was born in Bethlehem and continues to be alive after his crucifixion in Jerusalem.
But there is more than this! Paul puts it like this in his letter to the Colossians 1:15 “He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”. Jesus of Nazereth is not simply the unique Son of the God who made us all, but He Himself became the first-born human being. He did not appear on earth as himself until 4 b.c., but he himself was the first of the human race in that eternal, ever-present moment when God conceived everything.
But there is even more that this! You came into existence in Him! That’s what is stated plainly in Ephesians 2:10: “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” You are a human-being because you are part of the one great human being — the one who is called repeatedly in the New Testament “the son of man”. How close are you to God? Part of Him — part of his very own Son!
Far from being a little nothing — far from being the insignificant child of insignificant parents in an insignificant town, you are part of God’s own inner family. Your are a bit of his Son Jesus. You are part of his body — a unique expression of him. Why? Because Jesus is infinite and his beauty and parts can only be seen in all their glory through his living a unique life in you — and a different one in me — and yet another one in your mother.
But there is even more to it than this. This earth can only reflect the full wonder and complexity of God if it is fully developed in the way that he has designated for it in a free universe. Although this may involve its destruction and re-creation, it can be subdued and developed only by God’s own action through his Son. Some of that work is to be done by Him through you. This is the real work that you exist to do on earth.
You may think that your job as a brick-layer is to lay bricks, as a writer is to write books, as a driver is to drive trucks, as a teacher is to teach students, but beneath these outward vocations Christ Himself is effecting changes on the earth through your life that will be evident only when the whole thing is concluded. Only then, when we are in his presence, will you see what your work (or His work in you) accomplished.
How Can You Live in Reality?
How then can you live in accordance with these realities? There is only one way – and that is to believe that this is the truth. You are not a little human being on your own trying to eke out some kind of successful existence here on earth. You are in fact part of Christ, the Son of the Creator of the universe. When you speak, you make him speak those very words. Either they are a delight and a fulfilment to Him or they are a dreadful torture and pain to Him. When you act, you make Him act. Either your actions express His love or they express indifference or dislike — either way, He has to bear them.
He has identified Himself with you so that you could experience existence. He has buried Himself in you — tied Himself to you. It is His miraculous life that keeps your heart miraculously beating and enables your eyes to miraculously see and register objects to your brain. This is the wonder of your life — and this is how important you are to the gracious Being who made you.