We are not alone in our calling into the world. This is the mystery of the Incarnation. In Jesus, God takes flesh to himself to enter history. Two Natures. One Divine Person. God and man.
And yet I take for granted this central mystery. Sunday after Sunday my words grow cold. I say the Creed, but the meaning drifts away from me. On these occasions, I try to remember my history: “Blood was spilt to get these words right.” I’ll never forget the crotchety otherworldly monk who taught me that… All throughout the early Church, bishops emphasized either the humanity or the divinity of Christ, thus separating themselves from the Church. Schismatics. And other men died to defend them both: Fully God & fully man. This is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. This is the faith that we profess.
But why? Why did God become a man? And what was the content of His message?
In our post-Christian age, Christianity often devolves into “personal relationship with Jesus” talk. Many would say that Jesus came that we may become his “friends.” Indeed, he calls his disciples friends, but this is not the primary motive for his mission. Listen as he speaks of Another: “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (John 10:37-38). Jesus declares himself credible only insofar as he is one with Another, who he reveals as Father.
Jesus came to earth to tell us one thing: we are in relationship with the Father. He teaches us to pray: “Our Father…” And he suffers unto death to drive home the message. The Fatherhood of God is the primary revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s the whole point.
The Fatherhood of God has immense implications for our lives. In that confession, God does not change, but is understood for who He is throughout eternity. But, the plight of man changes profoundly insofar as we embrace the truth or we do not. Because God is our Father, we ourselves inherit a new identity. We become more than men. We become sons, sons of the Heavenly Father. This profession is the foundation for our dignity. We have value because we belong to Another.
And yet, here too, it’s easy for routine to replace the awe and wonder this revelation should provoke. “I know, I know. I’m a son.” As I look to the blood of the martyrs to appreciate what I confess about the Incarnation, I think we would do well to look to explore what happens when we run away from the home of our Heavenly Father.
In short, people die.
The lines are drawn clearly between those who embrace the Fatherhood of God but fail to radiate the truth, and those who reject it wholesale: secular feminism and Islam are the latter, we ourselves are the former. We will take each in its turn.