#progGOD Challenge #2
Tony Jones has invited bloggers from all over the blogosphere to answer another #progGOD challenge. The question: “Why An Incarnation?”
“…I’m most interested in what the Incarnation tells us about God, human beings, creation, the Cosmos, the End Times, Heaven, Hell, salvation, or anything else…from a Progressive Christian perspective.”
Here’s my three-fold response:
Jesus is the new way God is revealed
The passage in scripture that most informs my understanding the reason for God to choose incarnation is Hebrews 1:1-2, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son” (NRSV).
Jesus does not negate what God did through the prophets, but Jesus becomes the hermeneutical lens through which people can understand God’s action since the beginning of creation. Jesus is the new way in which God is choosing to speak to the world, not only through his teaching but with his whole life. When I look at Jesus in the scriptures, I am able know exactly how God wants to reveal God’s-self to humanity. Jesus’ life, teachings, and self-sacrifice are now the final word for how God is dealing with humanity.
Christians should pour over the Word in order to learn about Jesus’ life and how others interpreted that life in order to get a better understanding of who God is.
Jesus shows us God on earth
Incarnation means “embodied in flesh or taking on flesh.”
This is exactly why God became incarnate–to show humanity what happens when God takes on flesh.
“He [Jesus] is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being” (Heb 1:3) and “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9) are primary verses for me when thinking about incarnation.
When I want to know God’s attributes, personality, and actions in the world, I look to Jesus. He is the “exact imprint” of God and “in him the whole fullness” of God is revealed. My understanding of God now comes in Jesus.
Jesus’ death and resurrection does something
Tony Jones wrote a great little ebook entitled, A Better Atonement: Beyond the Depraved Doctrine of Original Sin. If you want a primer on the atonement, read it.
Through faith believers share in Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Jesus’ self sacrifice, he takes on people’s sin and gives them his righteousness. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the turning point in history where God begins to reconcile all people. Humanity is reconciled to God through Jesus’ incarnation, which includes everything from his birth to resurrection.
In summary God chose an incarnation for three reasons. First, Jesus is the new way God had chosen to be revealed. Second, Jesus shows us God on earth. Third, Jesus’ death and resurrection reconciles humanity to God. All of this shows us that God loves humanity very much. So much that God is willing to engage in self-sacrifice in order to bring people back into relationship. God originally created humanity out of love and is now reconciling humanity because of that same love.