Passion and Atonement -- The Son of God

[Note: The contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, Chapter 53, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes Chapter 54.]

To this lynchpin people, at the heart of a world ready to hear the news, God will act, and send Himself, to be God with us, Immanuel.

A great Light will shine in this wilderness, a light for all the chosens: for those whom God had told they were chosen, and for those still searching, and for those who have trudged or have flown past hope into outright despair; for the good men and women and children, such as they are...

...but most especially for the enemies of God--who are all of us, sinners.

Within all the work God does, He lets us sinners have our own way, because He loves us too much to let us be something other than real boys and girls.

But this produces a hideous disparity.

It looks like God doesn't exist.

It looks like God doesn't care.

It looks like God is a monster.

So what, if I say that God suffers, too!? That is a metaphysical deduction, requiring wire-thin argumentation to establish--and hey, maybe I made a mistake, have I ever thought of that?!

Yes, actually, I have. That is why I keep track of what I do, and continue to polish my thoughts on the subject.

But if I am right, then sooner or later, through a historical process about which I could make a few preliminary guesses (though admittedly fewer, perhaps, than if I didn't already have a culture and a history in mind--for I am not a great prophet), God will come to pay the bill for our sins, yours and mine; will come to pay for the world He made; will come to pay for loving His enemies.

And He will pay to the fullest, while still being God Himself.

He will come as a Man, in order to represent the idea of agent-to-patient.

I do not know whether He will beget children or not; I suspect not, in order to prevent problems in future generations, though I am not sure.

But He will come as a child, Himself, the way we all do; in blood and pain and fear and ignorance, born into the synthetic inheritance: for this is not to be merely a manifestation.

This is to be a sharing of our burdens.

Probably He will be born poor; for God will want to show that He is not the sort of God we naturally imagine a King to be--the way we, as sinners, would want to be, if we were the Kings, or Queens, of the world.

He will be born within the culture of this one chosen people among all the people He loves; His life will be lived linked to the light He has ever been shining progressively through them.

And, of course, if He has ever promised them He would come, then to them first He will go.

To them He will go first--not to damn everyone else in the world by showing favoritism to these people.

No, He will go to them, to be damned Himself: by the world He made, and by the situations He has allowed, and by the enemies He loves.

He will already have a mighty task, a mighty adventure, ahead of Him. So, I expect that He will need to come in a way which is slightly unusual, to say the least.

He will, for His birth, fix the synthetic inheritance.

He would not be doing this for His own convenience, but rather to give Himself no excuses at all.

God always could set aside His love or justice, as it often looks to us He does; He never has nor shall, but He could do it. The Father could refuse the Son; the Son could betray the Father; the Spirit could refuse to act toward fulfilling fair-togetherness between persons. God would cease to exist, along with everything else, past present and future; but He could do it.

So He will take the risks we take, so far as He allows us risks; but He will take more risks than we take, for we do have some excuse for what we are.

He will have no excuses. He will not let Himself off that easily.

God would want to come in a very odd way, as a sign to be looked for, I think.

And I am certain that He would not, will not, allow Himself to have our excuses for our failures.

Whatever temptations He will suffer, shall be His to suffer fully--more fully than us, for we do have some excuses for what we do. That would be only fair.

And, in a way, such a directly engendered birth would also be somewhat safer, so far as His mission (not His personal well-being) will be concerned. The always Self-Begotten 2nd Person of God, will need to have as much access to God the Father as humanly possible; limited though that will be.

He will be the action of God; God taking action; the finger of God.

He will be the Son of God.

But also, He will be the Son of Man.

Fully God, fully Man.

Would God, as poured out, be 'fully God'?

To be honest, it depends on what we mean by 'fully'. He can hardly be, as Incarnate Man, in every place at every time; although within the eternal transPersonal Unity, this omnipresence is not only certain but necessary for every place and every time. He will be taking on limits; yet even as God Eternal, He still submits to self-imposed limits. God the Son surrenders eternally in unity to God the Father. God surrenders a portion of His infinitude, in order to create a portion at all, something not-infinite, not-God; although He could bring this part to life again, to any degree He wishes, at any point, or at all points, of its existence.

God already limits Himself, in order to be Who He is, the Creator; even in order to be, period, He 'limits' Himself (if we wish to think of it that way) to being only a self-consistent reality--to being, as He Himself, only real.

Yet He is still God, fully God. One limitation from infinity, leaves the infinity in its fully rich reality; while also leaving the new limitation.

So, yes, He could be 'fully' God, and yet be 'fully' Man--more fully human than any of us, in fact, for He will not give Himself the excuses of our corrupted synthetic shape. We are not quite the humans we were intended to be; but when God comes, He will be.

Or, almost He will be.

For He will still be His mother's child.

He will thus bear part of the synthetic inheritance; He will in His own way humble himself to need salvation, a progression from where He is to what He ought to be: a salvation not from His sins, but from the result of sin that He Himself shall voluntarily bear. He will be, like us, a person of sorrows--of sweat, pain, cramps, even diapers and 'swaddling clothes'. No, I do not know how much of this would have been ours anyway; I suppose in some form it would still exist, only not in a debased and occasionally crippling way. But God the Son will take on as much of the synthetic inheritance of our species as He can, for better and for worse, while remaining Who He is. And God the Father will not abandon the Son to the tampering of devils.

Although the Father will give over the Son, He Himself begotten, to the torments of devils.

God will not be spared those.

He will only be 'spared' our excuses.

The Son will be born; probably poor, as I suppose, if this will best get across the message of the humility of God. I expect the parents will have had some advance warning--if He comes as the new Adam, free from the curse of Adam's sin, although not voluntarily sharing the curse of Adam's suffering, then He will do some fixing of the genetics; and He will want people someday to know that this was how He came, facing what we face without even our wretched cursed shield.

So I entirely expect that a maiden will conceive, and give birth to a Son, Who will be God with us; and in order to help us understand the point, I expect she will be a virgin.

Thus the need for some special advance warning, so it won't be too much of a surprise.

Besides which, the woman will not be a sock-puppet, either. This is not a seduction or rape, such as may be found in other stories. She is a person, and deserves to be part of the choice, deserves to have her full share of responsibility in what is happening. This might even be a remarkable departure from the norm, in whatever society is chosen for this event.

Some other advance preparations would also be made, although of a subtler sort. The Son will live His life within this culture, and will want to show how God fulfills the promises of God, not only for this culture, but for the world.

So, we may expect some hints of this event to be scattered, not too plainly perhaps, through whatever preparatory traditions precede His birth; perhaps dating back to the first ancestor of this particular nation, and beyond into the mists of myth and legend.

Yet there might be (I do not insist on it, although I think I could hope with good faith on it) some more recent preparation, too.

His specially chosen people would probably have had some idea in advance when He is coming; but He isn't only coming for them. He is coming for everyone, for all of us.

I have no problem imagining that God would alert some pagans, or maybe even some sceptics, some outright unbelievers--some people whom his 'chosens' would consider to be enemies of God, although they are no more enemies than the rest of the world, including the people whom God has chosen. It wouldn't be a bad idea to call together some representatives of the best of the rest of the world, to witness the coming of the fulfillment of their hopes, too. Not merely the rich and wise (some of whom may be called to see this, even among the pagans), but also the poor and ignorant (the true 'pagans', or peasants, themselves)--although probably the poor men would be closer to the event in time and space to begin with, lacking the resources for much travel. (They might receive a more glorious advance preparation, too--once more the humble would be exalted.)

Again, I do not insist on such things; but the possibility is worth keeping in mind, I think. It could happen any of a number of different ways; we should keep a sharp watch for something special, with the right sort of signs--something special, and something also humble, almost hum-drum. Fireworks, yes, maybe; but the birth itself would need to be something to which we can all relate--very 'natural', even. Maybe a birth without any special advantages.

Maybe even a birth at risk.

For God will be coming onto rebel territory, small, weak, easily killed, completely dependent, just as we all are.

And there are monsters here in our world.

Although, it wouldn't do for God to throw Himself to the monsters, just yet.

That would come later.

[Next: the good news]


So what, if I say that God suffers, too!? That is a metaphysical deduction, requiring wire-thin argumentation to establish--and hey, maybe I made a mistake, have I ever thought of that?!

Yes, actually, I have. That is why I keep track of what I do, and continue to polish my thoughts on the subject.

Yea I know what you mean. I thought I made a mistake once, turns out I was wrong!;-)
Jason Pratt said…
Eh, if it comes to that, there are plenty of people all across the religious and irreligious spectrum who think I'm making plenty of mistakes anyway. {g}


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