by Ernest O’Neill
Because the Creator of the universe made us part of his own son!
That’s the startling truth.
Before the earth was made – indeed, before the universe was created – God conceived a Son like Himself – with the nature and power that He Himself possesses. At that same moment (if one can talk about a moment in the spaceless-timeless realm of eternity) He resolved that his Son would also be the origin of the human race. He did this out of sheer love in order to share his own happiness with others.
Our Real Father
This is part of the meaning of a profound statement in Colossians 1:15: “He (the Son) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation”. This means that the man we know in the first century as Jesus of Nazareth was conceived in eternity as God’s only-begotten Son but also as the first-born human being. And in Him in eternity you and all of us humans were created. This is part of the meaning of another profound statement in Ephesians 1:4: “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”. Paul, you remember, put it very succinctly in Ephesians 2:10 “for we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus”.
Does this mean that the man Jesus of Nazareth is really our father? That’s how the Old Testament prophet referred to the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father…..'”. Does this mean that Jesus Christ is not only the Eternal Son of God who exists apart from the universe but is also the origin of all us humans ? Yes – moreover it is His present life that keeps us alive at this moment. Paul expressed it this way in Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”. If He existed before all things, does this mean that in him we existed before all things? Although we are conscious of our existence only after we are born here on earth, it is plain from Ephesians 1:4 above that our Creator chose us to be his children in His Son in the same milli-second that He conceived His Son. This helps to explain some of the goodness that appears at times in even the worst of humans. There is no one good but God, however we all have our origin in the very Son of God, who lifts us by his obedience and is borne down by our sin.
Why is Christ both God and Man?
Why did God grant His Son this dual privilege and dual responsibility? Because He wished to have many like His Son and because He wished His Son’s beauty to be expressed in many. As the literal Greek of John 1:3b-4a states: “that which was made was life in Him”; each of us began as part of the Son of God – which is part of the reason Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:27 “now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it”. We exist so that Christ can live the life He planned to live in us! Far from being ejected by some primordial explosion or being the result of a chance conjugal relationship, we have been in the mind of Our Creator from the beginning. We are not an after-thought or a toy which He produced as an experiment that failed. On the contrary, God has tied Himself willingly to us and opened the very intimacy of His own family to our love or hatred. If we rise in love and joy, we rise in Christ Jesus; if we fall into depression and despair, we fall in Christ Jesus. So our goodness comes from Him in us, and our sins are borne by Him in us.
Then is Christ human forever? He is the only Son that God begot directly: He is the only Son who shares all God’s nature and powers. No human or superhuman being is exactly like Him; no human or superhuman being has the position or relationship that He has to God. He is God – no one else can be that.
But Christ has willingly become the first-born human. This is why He is described even in His specifically Divine Judgement responsibilities as human in Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another…” From him all of us have derived our humanity – He is our father – we live by his life and energy. Even the Roman soldiers who lashed him at his trial in Palestine did so by his life and strength. He is the great human – the great human race. In eternity His Father saw the life of the whole human race in His Son in a milli-second. Obviously the infinite mind of the Creator does not need the sequential time-based happening of events to see the potential of what He has created. So, in a complex way that preserves our free-will, the psalmist rightly states in Psalm 139:16: “Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”.
So your life originated in Christ who already knows what he wishes to do in it. In the timeless world that Einstein and others have glimpsed, Christ has already lived that life and made all the rough places plain. He has already accomplished the “good works which he has prepared that you should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Yet all of this can only “be unto you according to your faith”.