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Essentials of Wesleyan Theology - Lesson 7

Doctrine of Creation

God creates out of nothing. Creation is a direct act, bringing into existence something that is not God. Creation does not come from a pantheist or dualist origin. God creates through Christ. Creation has its foundation in the relationship between the Father and the Son. God in creating chooses to share power in relationship. There often seems to be a relationship between creativity and suffering. (Ppt 3)

Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
Lesson 7
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Doctrine of Creation

I. Introduction to Wesleyan Theology and Creation

A. Historical Background

B. John Wesley's Contributions

II. Doctrine of Creation in Wesleyan Theology

A. Biblical Basis

1. Old Testament Perspectives

2. New Testament Perspectives

B. Creation as an Act of God's Love

III. Implications of the Doctrine of Creation

A. God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

B. Stewardship of Creation

C. Relevance to Contemporary Issues


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  • By studying the Essentials of Wesleyan theology, you learn about its historical roots, key principles, and the importance of grace, holiness, and Christian perfection in this theological perspective.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a thorough understanding of Wesleyan theology, its tasks, key theological perspectives, and distinctives, providing you with a solid foundation for further exploration of the Wesleyan tradition.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into Wesleyan theology's goal of pursuing holiness through sanctification, understanding the three stages and the practical implications for discipleship, spiritual growth, and the church's role.
  • In this lesson, you explore the doctrine of God in Wesleyan theology, learning about His attributes, the Trinity, and His relationship with creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, exploring its scriptural basis, historical development, and practical implications for Christian living.
  • This lesson deepens your understanding of the Trinity from a Wesleyan perspective, emphasizing its historical development, implications for Christian faith, and the significance of love and relationship within the Godhead.
  • Gain insight into Wesleyan theology's Doctrine of Creation, its biblical basis, and the practical implications it has on understanding God's sovereignty, human responsibility, and stewardship of creation.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into Wesleyan theology's understanding of Christ's person and work, exploring key concepts like the Incarnation, Atonement, and Second Coming.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the incarnation of Jesus Christ, its dual nature, and its implications in revealing God's nature, redemption, atonement, and modeling holiness.
  • In this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the Cross of Christ in Wesleyan theology, exploring atonement theories, the scope and application of atonement, and its impact on the believer's life.
  • By studying the Cross of Christ Part 2, you gain insights into the theological concepts of the cross and the unique features of Wesleyan theology, ultimately learning how to apply these principles in your daily Christian life.
  • By examining the significance of the resurrection in Wesleyan theology, you gain insight into its foundational role in Christian faith, its connection to justification and sanctification, and its far-reaching theological implications for believers.

In this class on the Essentials of Wesleyan Theology, you explore the historical background and development of Methodism, its key doctrines, and the unique approach to Scripture that John Wesley promoted. You gain a deeper understanding of prevenient grace, justification, assurance, sanctification, and the concept of Christian perfection. Furthermore, you learn about Wesley's quadrilateral of authority, his emphasis on holiness, and the impact of Wesleyan theology on social reform, evangelism, and contemporary Christian thought and practice.

Dr. Steve Seamands
Essentials of Wesleyan Theology
th502-07
Doctrine of Creation
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:21] Well, we're going to think, though, of some tonight about the person and beginning to think about the person work of Christ. And that's kind of where we're going to be most of the time this weekend. You know, it's interesting that it really was in the in the history of the church. It was in that period from the really the beginning of the fourth century into the fifth century that you get these four major Christological councils. And this isn't, of course, in church history, but you usually spend quite a bit of time. And of course, like that, focusing on those on the councils. First of all, the Council of Nicaea in 325. And the major issue in a sense that got hammered out at that council had to do with the divinity of Christ. A particular word, homo osias which meant of the same nature with or in the same essence of homasi as with the Father, the Nicene and a Creed. Came out of that particular council, the Nicene Creed, that is recited all over the world today. Still, actually the creed that we use sort of incorporates some of the things that were talked about in Constantinople about 50 years later. And that particular council wrestled strongly with the nature of his humanity. What was the nature of his humanity? When I was over in Russia a few weeks ago, back in May in a Russian Orthodox church. They say of the Nicene Creed every Sunday. In fact, they believe that the Nicene Creed is actually a more appropriate creed for the church to to recite than the Apostles Creed. Now, I grew up as a methodist, and we often would say the Apostles Creed and Church, you know. But the reason why they say that this creed, the Nicene Creed, is a better one is because it was gone over and agreed upon by a council, whereas the Apostles Creed, actually, even though it's become very accepted and traditional, never was, you know, accepted at that level, which was something I never really thought about.

[00:02:34] But anyway, did they say with this theologically? Yeah. Well, they don't say it. No, they don't. They don't. It's just that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. But in the Eastern church, they do not add. And the son, which is a Western. We may talk about that if we get to the Holy Spirit tomorrow or on Saturday. No, not in the Eastern church. They don't say that. Yeah. It's just. And the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and with the father and the Son is glorified. But here I was in a Russian Orthodox church on Pentecost Sunday. And there you know, you stand for the whole service. You stand. And and it's a beautiful liturgy. They know how to worship. But I didn't understand much of it, of course, because it was in old Slovak, which is the language that they use mostly. Then you get the two more councils of the Council of Ephesus where discussion about his two natures sort of took center stage. What's the relationship? Okay. We've said he's fully divine, he's fully human. Well, how do you put those together in one? That's really where it seems to me. It starts to get sticky and difficult sometimes. And finally, the council that sort of is the capstone council, the one that brings this period to a close is the Council of Charles Sudan, what's known often as the Chapel Sedona and creator of the Charles Sedona definition. This becomes, you might say, accepted orthodox doctrine on the person of Christ. It's interesting because now. But 1500 years later, Christians and theologians. Whether you're Roman Catholic, whether you're Eastern Orthodox, whether you're Protestant, we all agree on this. We all agree on this. There really isn't much in that second volume or the word of life.

[00:04:38] The part of Odin's book that Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Protestants would find that much to quarrel about, you know. And so there's fundamental agreement on this. And it's interesting because when you get it all said and done, it's interesting. How long have they been kind of debating this whole thing? And and if you know anything about the story, I mean, it's a it's a interesting story. And it's not all pretty, is it? I mean, we got bishops trying to take out other bishops and hiring assassins. And you've got language problems because you've got Latin and Greek. And words mean different things when you translate them and and different parts of the church, whether you're in the East, whether you're from Constantinople, or whether you're from Rome vying with each other, you got all that going on. It's a very human affair. And it takes 125 years. And when it's all said and done, what do we have? Something you can summarize in one sentence. The Jesus Christ is truly divine. Truly human and truly one. But he has to nature's. Divine and human. And one person. I think that's a good example of a simplicity that's been arrived at on the far side of complexity. So when we say that that's a simple sentence now, and yet it's been hammered out, it's been put through the mill. And anyway, I think that's a good example of simplicity, a kind of a simplicity that's arrived at on the far side of complexity. And that to me is what's what what makes it truly profound and own comments about classical Christology. He says there's an esthetically beautiful simplicity in the ordering of classical Christology that examines in compact sequence three questions the deity of the person, the humanity of the person, and the unique personal union of God and humanity in one person.

[00:06:58] And it's interesting that that Charles Simonian definition has stood the test of time. It's not that there haven't been here and there theologians that have come along who've wanted to sort of bash Chao sedan or trash Chao sedan or or suggest that it's worthless and silly and we moderns can't, you know, accept these things. And so, I mean, we've got we've got folks like that. But by and large, it's stood the test of time. So here's Dietrich Bonhoeffer lecturing at the University of Berlin in about 1930, just before a year or two before Hitler comes to power. And he says this that this this the child. Simonian definition is a factual but a living statement which bursts the ball bounds of all thought forms. In its negative formulations. It is the ideal conciliar theological statement. It preserves with clarity and in paradox the loving statement of what from now on is going to be the Orthodox doctrine. Christ is one person and two natures. One person in two natures. One of the things that he's saying there that I think is important is that, you know, they don't really try to say too much. It's more a descriptive statement than it is an explanatory statement. They never really explain how. One person but two natures. But how? They don't really. They say it, don't they? They lay it out there, but they don't necessarily. And he's saying that's one of the reasons why it's a good statement. Brant. Or is the main argument if there was a main argument against what was decided, the consensus and why they fought that way? Well, you you have in the case of first, the Nicene Council, you have a guy named Arius who shows up in Alexandria. He's a bishop.

[00:09:08] He's a very charismatic kind of religious personality. He starts suggesting that the Son, Jesus Christ was not, in essence one with the father, but is kind of an intermittent an intermediary. Between God and man. It's really hard for him to think of a human being, being fully God. It's almost like that's just not God, like for that to happen. And so we're kind of protecting God from that. And he so he denies that essential deity of Christ. He quotes scriptures like where Jesus says, the Father is greater than I. So he's got his scripture text to prove that Jesus is less than fully God. And as the church wrestles with that. Athanasius is the church father who says, No, the reason that's not going to work. Because if Jesus Christ is going to save us and redeem us. He has to be fully God, because what needs to happen for redemption is something that only God can do. If Jesus forgives sins and he's not fully God. Well, how do we know that that really has any real effect? I mean, I could say, Bryant, your sins are forgiven, right? And you'd say, well, he's a little loopy tonight. Or maybe he had too much to drink. Or he's a well-meaning fellow. He means well, but he can't forgive sense, right? Only God can do that. So you see why it's important. And the issue really becomes how you understand salvation. Same way with the next counsel, because in that case, you have another guy that comes along named appalling areas, and his issue is the humanity of Christ. He really can't accept the fullness of the humanity of Christ once again. The church fathers say it's important for him to be fully human because if he's not fully human, then God hasn't gone where the problem really is, which is inhumanity, humanity.

[00:11:20] So salvation was a critical issue. In those cases, what usually going on. It was people's wrong ways of framing things that forces the church. Remember last time we were together? At one point I talked about how theology has this task of kind of discerning what what's counterfeit and what's real. I think I had a quote up there that said that sometimes that God, basically heresy is sometimes the pathway to the clear definition of orthodoxy. And you see that happening in the case of these councils and the way this gets worked out, that as the church had time to think and process, they rejected certain ways of thinking and and accepted others. And what we have here is a I think, something that stood the test of time. As part of her says here, it preserves with clarity and in paradox. It doesn't try to necessarily explain too much, but it states it for us. One of the things that I think makes this a good statement is that it therefore doesn't destroy the mystery of the incarnation and that this truly is a mystery, isn't it? Trying to write something right now kind of related to this. And I was looking at what I was writing, what I'd written, and in an attempt to kind of express this mystery side of the incarnation, the one who inhabits eternity comes to dwell in space and time without ceasing to be eternal. Now, you know, try to get your head around that. The creator comes to us as a creature in the world he has made. Even as he remains the creator and sustainer of all things. The source of all human being comes to us as a particular human being. While continuing to be the divine being He is.

[00:13:17] God. The son became human without ceasing to be divine, though he became what he was not, he still remained what he always was. This is kind of just an attempt to sort of express the mystery of the incarnation. In his humanity, he does limit himself in that. I don't think he's going around. Consciously aware of the fact that he is upholding the universe by the word of his power. I think he's limited to what a human being can know in terms of being in a relationship with God. He's limited and this is another way, you know, does he even do his miracles out of his inherent divinity or do his miracles not flow out of his relationship with the Holy Spirit? Right. Good vineyard theology would probably want to emphasize that he does his miracles out of his relationship with the Holy Spirit, and therefore, you and I, because that leads to an understanding that would say, well, he's that's a possibility for us to do those works too. You know what I'm saying? To understand it that way. But even those that would want to emphasize that there's this limitation, he still doesn't do away with the fact that he's the second person of the Trinity. It doesn't cease to be the second person of the Trinity, even though he assumes human form in Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he assumes for human flesh. So that that is the mystery. But you don't want to act like he kind of ceases being divine. But in his humanity, it's appropriate to talk about his limitation, of his awareness of being divine, of his use of, you know, omniscience and omnipotence. You know, again, emphasizing and underscoring the mystery of the incarnation. Of course, this leads us to get poetic.

[00:15:13] Let's put it this way. When things are too deep to be able to simply explain. Rationally, rationally. You're forced to use metaphors, aren't you? So here's Charles Wesley. See, on the infant's face, the depths of duty and labor. While you gaze to found the mystery in vain. You angels gaze no more but fall in silently. Adore. More recently. Here's Michael Card, a Christian songwriter. Some of you may be familiar with his 15, 20 years old. Now, the life of where he kind of sings you through the whole life of Christ. Now, fiction is fantastic, and while a mother made by her own child. The hopeless babe who cried was God incarnate and man deified. This is the mystery more than you can say. Give up on your pondering. Fall down on your knees. Well, obviously, the incarnation causes us to, as the Christmas carols say, come, let us adore him. Right? Christ the Lord. This is an amazing miracle. The miracle of Christmas. The miracle. This. God come in human flesh. It's appropriate to explore this mystery a bit different. Attempts have been made to try to grapple with it and understand it. Sometimes the concept of paradox, for example, has been used to help. Well, you know what a paradox is. You know, two seemingly contradictory things, and yet you affirm them both and you kind of hold these things in tension together. And you can only express the truth by expressing them both. So we can talk about salvation being all of grace. And yet salvation being a human choice. You know, you get that. Divine sovereignty and human responsibility paradox. Don't we have a paradox in Scripture about in Scripture itself that we would say that the Scripture is fully inspired by God, and yet it's a very human book, isn't it? And we can say it's almost fully human and fully divine and almost like the Incarnation.

[00:17:37] And there's different ways to try to grapple with it. I want to just kind of share one way of thinking about the incarnation that helps to to help make some sense out of the how how can how could he be fully human and fully divine and fully one. Doesn't the presence of one. But he's full of human. Seem to push aside the fact that he's fully divine, just like the question you raised. I mean, you know, kind of it's kind of like, well, how can he. So we figure out ways to talk about, well, he limits his humanity. Or his divinity puts that on the back burner. So now his humanity is on the front burner. It's interesting how sometimes your concept of space. Believe it or not. Affects the way you think about things. And one of the things I've learned in teaching theology and studying theology for the last 20 years or so is that the issues of space and time. Are really critical issues for us when we think about theology. Think about the whole issue of predestination, for example, and how we can get into conundrums and conflicts and fight with each other over over predestination. But the whole business of predestination, we think of God sort of looking out there and seeing what people would do or determining what they would do. And it's almost like for God, there's a before and an after. So God sits back and he knows ahead of time because he knows everything, right? But he's sitting back here at the beginning and he knows what you're going to do ten years from now. But this whole predestination thing really assumes that somehow. God. Is bound in some kind of sequential understanding of time like we are.

[00:19:30] And if you think of time for God as being in an eternal now. Then it's like when you chose it and God knew what it was just the same. Because for God, there's no past, present and future is there? So if you begin to understand time better and how God interacts with time, then it. Changes the way you understand. Maybe a doctrine like predestination will. Space is interesting too. Oftentimes it's our visual perceptions of space that affect the way we think about things. So if something is there, something else can't be there to. This glass is full of water. And so if there's water in this cup, well, something else can't be there to. I learned in high school physics that two masses can't occupy the same space at the same time. Well, yeah, we could. We could take Allen's Diet Pepsi here and we could pour it in there, could we? But then we wouldn't have water any more, would we? You think about this blotch here on the if if it's quite. Well, it can't be read at the same time, Right. Now, if you put right in there, then you're going to merge. And so then you're going to end up with orange, which causes then the red and the white to lose, you might say. There are distinctive identities. And we tend to think like that about space. And so then we bring that kind of concept of space. And this there's this is an understanding of space that's been actually shaped by visual perceptions. What we see. Then we bring that to the Incarnation. So we say, Well, if he was fully human. And how could you say? He's still fully. How could he be fully divine? And so you kind of have to push one out to make room for the other.

[00:21:42] What's your functioning where there is what you might call an absolutist or receptacle view of space characterized by mutual exclusiveness? In some ways that does work in the physical realm, and the material around to objects can occupy the same space at the same time. T.f Torrents Scottish theologian kind of defines this this view of space space as the limit or boundary of the containing body at which it is in immediate contact with a contained body. So that's this kind of view of space, like this water filling up this glass. What if there are other ways of thinking about space? A relational view of space, for example. Here's Athanasius back in the fourth century, and I've already quoted this. More or less saying that the word was not hedged in by his body. Well, you know, this water is kind of hedged in. Buy this container, isn't it? He's saying but the word the second person, the Trinity is not is not hedged in by the body that he assumed that the flesh. Okay. Nor did his presence in the body. He's really there for Athanasius. Prevent his being present elsewhere as well. He says his body was him for it was for him, not a limitation. But an instrument. So that he was both in it. And in all things. And outside all things. Resting on the father alone. There's this scene in the last battle where Lucy is talking. I wish I could quote this exactly, but I just thought about it and just, you know, she was saying to someone, you know, in Narnia, because this is the way things work in Narnia that there can be actually. More inside the glass. Then there is outside the glass. And Lucy says, Yeah, there was a time when that happened in a stable.

[00:24:04] And we believe that the one that was in that there was actually more an inside. What was inside was actually bigger. And what was outside? Well, he's kind of saying that, isn't he? He was both in it and in all things and outside of all things, resting on the father alone. Fascinating that a fourth century church father actually has an understanding of space. Actually, that probably is more Einstein than. And more contemporary than we realize in terms of even the way science scientists are thinking today. What Torrence says here is Athanasius is actually functioning with a relational, not a receptacle view of space, something contained in a receptacle. And then we think of space like that, and if it's read there, then you can't put quite there. Well, if you do put white there, then you've got orange. So that's not going to work. But what if you think about space differently? What if we began to think about space like this? Space not so much characterized by exclusiveness. But by open ended ness. And here's this word interpenetration. Para Croesus. Para Carissa saw that. In the persons that persons of the Trinity can kind of in dwell one another. Have you come across that word before crisis? We got our word. Choreography. Dance around is actually what it means. We get our word choreography from that Greek word, part of that Greek word there. And the idea is that the person is the Trinity. Like a dance. You can. You can change places. Never done square dancing. Swing your partner and say no and you move in and out. And that's the idea that the person's alternative can just sort of move in and out and co in here and inter penetrate each other.

[00:26:08] They don't lose their own distinctive identities when that happens. You know, it's not a merging or a blurring or a co-mingling. This is a view, a different kind of view of space, isn't it? If you actually let one of your other senses shape your view of space a little bit, you might be able to understand better what I'm talking about. You see our visual views of space kind of lock us in to a certain way of thinking. But let me ask a question. When is it that you hear more than one thing happening? When is that? You hear more than one sound at the same time. Different sounds. How about music? A good example of when you hear I don't if we got any singers in our midst here. Let's just think of a choir here. We've got notes being sung. We've got a alto, a tenor and a bass. I guess I've left out a soprano. We've got four different notes here. And they're all different notes, right? And. Yet when their song, what happens to them? What we hear doesn't occupy a bounded space. If I were to sing a note from here, it would kind of float out. Wouldn't it? Into this whole room, as it were. It doesn't seem to be hemmed in. Let's just take a major chord of CNN Energy or all song. Do the notes lose their distinctive identities? Does the C quit being a C? You know, like what happens when you think of putting a red and white together? Well, you lose the distinctive red and white. You end up with orange, right? But when you put the C and the E and the G out there. What happens to him? Well, if I'm the tenor or you're the soprano or whatever, you know, your note is, it's it doesn't lose its distinctiveness, and yet it does create a new reality.

[00:28:29] This chord. So you have both this distinctive notes that are sung, and yet in the singing of them together, you get this new reality a chord. We don't think anything about it. And the notes don't seem to bump into each other. Or caused the other to lose its distinctiveness. Isn't that kind of really what the framers of Charleston were saying? You have these two two realities divine and human. And the divine and human realities do not quit being fully divine. Truly human. Truly divine. You know, the coming together doesn't cause this kind of mixture. And yet they are joined together to form a new reality. Which is the one person, the distinctive one person. I think Tom Oden uses the phrase from time to time. Cindric. The C andric union says unique this unique divine human union and the person of Christ. So you have this one person. Right. And yet two realities. And as one theologian Colin Gunton puts it in the incarnation, God becomes present within one finite, one piece of finite reality, but without either losing his general relationship to the hole or depriving that one part of its genuine humanity. In this one piece of space, there is co-present two levels of reality that match that which permeates everything by virtue of his creating power and that which, by virtue of that same power, he takes freely and graciously to himself, becoming what in himself he has not. So that's one way of thinking about space actually matters, doesn't it? And using your auditory. Census. That sense sometimes maybe helps you. I understand things that maybe your visual sense isn't as good at helping you understand. I think maybe we need all our senses. I don't know about you. I kind of like that.

[00:31:01] Yeah. Music. Notes of a major triad. Distinct yet a new a new reality. This is interesting, but probably not the question that you're. Bryant people, you're going to be preaching to the sun or are really wondering about. Probably not good to try to preach that. Maybe you put it in a teaching setting. So the heart of the incarnation. Truly divine, truly human, truly one. But what the splits, the. So what? That's what they're interested in, right? The incarnation, the word became flesh and dwelt among us. As John says in John, one that should be one, 14 should not. It means that God has fully experienced and therefore can fully identify with the human condition. He has a manual God with us. The word became flesh. The word there is in Greek. The word sharks. Which in and of itself was a word that for typical Greek or Hebrew to hear, God became sparks flesh. Wow. Yeah. That human form. That God assumed takes on is no mere outer garment. Says Michael. Frost and Alan Hirsch in their book The Shaping of Things to Come like a beggar cloak of a king who dresses up in order to seek out the love of a beggar girl in the local village, you know. A garment that, as they say, flutters loosely about him and so betrays his real status. As a king know. Rather, it is his true form and figure God actually takes upon himself all the conditions, even the limitations, the struggles and the doubts of humanity. God in human form. How absolutely stunning this is. We say it and we talk about it. At Christmas time. And we mourn and we take it for granted. But how absolutely stunning that John 114 verse is the word became flesh and dwelt among us.

[00:33:39] William Barclay, a New Testament scholar who is famous for his daily study Bible. Any of you familiar with Barkley Barkley's commentaries. Very useful, helpful, Down to earth commentary says that that verse. John 114. In his mind is the most incredible verse in the old and the whole New Testament. Given the Greco-Roman context particularly, he writes. Augustine afterwards said he writes this, that in his pre-Christian days he had read and studied the great pagan philosophers and their writings. If you've read Augustine's confessions, he says that. But he had never read that the word became flesh. The one thing that no Greek would ever have dreamed of was that God could take a body. To the Greek. The body was an evil. A prison house in which the soul was shackled. A tomb in which the spirit was confined. Plutarch did not even believe that God could control the happenings of this world directly. He had to do it by deputies and intermediaries. For, as Plutarch saw it, it was nothing less than blasphemy to involve God in the affairs of the world. Follow could never have said it. He said the life of God has not descended to us, nor has it come as far as the necessities of the body. Marcus Aurelius said, Despise the flesh. The composition of the whole body is under corruption. Bryant, Going back to your question earlier, you can see how it was easy in a context like that for Christians, like in areas to be able to say God could become human, fully human. So Jesus could be fully God. You know, he's an inner Mary Mary, a meter reader or something like that, but not fully God, because, you know, Plutarch says, or who does it quote here you don't involve God in the affairs of this world.

[00:35:52] Why? Because sparks flesh is transient. It's wasting away. It's corrupt. You know. And how can you mixed up? You don't want to mix Scott up with that. So how stunning it is. Absolutely stunning. It is for this verse to show up in our New Testament, says William Barclay. This is just absolutely stunning that they would actually say this, that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. I like Paterson's translation. Moved into our neighborhood. Actually pitched his tent tabernacle among us is there is the is the literal meaning there of the word dwelt. And it actually takes you back to the Old Testament because the tabernacle of God. And isn't that of the picture that God's going to come and tabernacle among us at the very end of the story? If you haven't read the last two chapters, go back, go read the last two chapters because heaven comes down. Heaven and earth get joined, don't they? And God comes down and dwells in the city. And it doesn't need Gates anymore. It doesn't need like because the Lords, you know, but that's this picture of the incarnation. God has tabernacle among us. Now, interestingly, William Barclay said that about how Augustine never read anyone. He read all the ancient philosophers and he'd actually been helped by some of them. But he never read that the word became flesh. In 1960 or so, he, Stanley Jones, who had spent 50 years or so as a missionary in India and not just there, but as a kind of missionary statement, wrote a little book called The Word Became Flesh, kind of a one day devotional or the four day page per day devotional. And he says this First, the word became flesh. It is the great divide.

[00:37:55] In all other religions it is word became word. That is a philosophy, a moralism, a system, a technique only in Christianity for all time and all men everywhere. The word became flesh. The idea became fact. What a wonder this is, Leo. The great. Because he was invisible in his own pure nature. God had to become visible in our corrupted human flesh. He dwelled beyond our touch. He came close to us that we might embrace him, he says. What wonder is this? That God who existed before time, outside of time, should admit himself into the limited space of where some days. Cause Charles Wesley to write verse like this. I love that. God, the invisible appears, God, the blessed, the great. I am sojourns in this veil of tears. And Jesus is his name, and he goes on and on and on trying to talk about this mystery, The Incarnation. You can read the poetry. One of the things that. It seems to be conventional wisdom is that doctrine is boring. But Dorothy Sayers, friend of C.S. Lewis, who was a mystery novel writer, well known in England, as well as a kind of a philosopher theologian in her own right, wrote a little book called The Greatest Drama Ever Stage. And she said, she says, My goodness, this is. This is a good story. For. What it means is this, among other things, that for whatever reason, God chose to make man as he is limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death. He had the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is, he is playing with his creation. He has kept his own rules and played fair. When he was a man, he played as a man.

[00:40:09] And we think this is boring. This is a great story. The greatest story. But we tend to think of this incarnation story of the word. Was made flesh and well, to most we tend to think of, in a sense, God coming down, don't we? When we think of the Incarnation. But have you ever thought about it the other way? I wrote my doctoral dissertation on this man, so I got to know him pretty well. He had been one of my father's teachers when he was in school, and he talked a lot about him. So. He says. Actually, it's not so much the man knowing the experience of God, but actually God knowing the experience of the man. This is the mystery of the incarnation. But God knows. Human experience from the inside out. There's that word in Greek Kenosis. Self-emptying We tend to think of the Incarnation as a divine Self-emptying, don't we? That he emptied himself. Charles Wesley says. And can it be emptied himself of all but love emptied himself of his omniscience, omnipotence. You know, Paul talks about that in Philippians two, how he. Emptied himself of his divine prerogatives. Okay, but have you ever thought about it the other way? That the incarnation is not just a divine sort of emptying, but it's actually a divine filling? So there's another Greek word play roses. So it's not just a kenosis, an emptying, but it's also a divine filling. But what do I mean by that? Well, listen to what C.S. Lewis says. He came down from heaven. That's what the Nicene Creed says can almost be transposed into heaven. Drew earth up into it. And locality limitation sleep, sweat, foot, saw, weariness, frustration, pain, doubt and death are from before all world's known by God from within.

[00:42:26] The pure light walks the earth. The darkness received into the heart of city is there swallowed up where except in uncreated light can the darkness be drowned? Well. I don't guess you get too many letters from people writing things like that. But C.S. Lewis wrote that to a friend of his and another in a book called Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer. Maybe you've read. That? Yeah. Dan, is this referring? To. He's sending Christology from below rather than from above. Yeah, in the African Christology. And the council's promoting peace and listening. Yeah, it's kind of like saying that he comes down, but. But there's also something taken up. And so it's a yeah, it's a Christology from above and and from below coming together. Right. Neither one competition. Right. Making it home. Yeah. And he is the mediator, isn't he? The mediator between God and man and brings the brings these two realities together and himself. Well, the point I'm trying to talk really emphasize here, I don't ID at its fullest. As Tertullian says, no more complete revelation of God's empathic love is possible than this, that the God shares our human frame, participates in our human limitations, enters our human sphere. I think that particularly during the season of Advent, this is a time to really talk about this and ring the changes on this theme. Max Lucado wrote a book a number of years ago called God Came Near. Maybe you're familiar with it, but it's making this point. And he has a way, I think, of graphically picturing this for folks in a way that helps them to get the message and to understand the good news. So I'm going to read a little bit from Max here. The omnipotent in one instant made himself breakable.

[00:44:52] He who had been spirit became perishable. He was larger than the universe became an embryo. And he sustains the world without a word, chose to be dependent upon the nourishment of a young girl. God as a fetus. Poland is sleeping in a warm. The creator of life being created. God was given eyebrows, elbows, two kidneys and a spleen. He stretched against the walls and floated in the amniotic fluids of his mother. God had come here. Came not as a flash or an unapproachable conqueror, but as one who first cries. Were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands the first held him were un manicured, calloused and dirty. No silk, no ivory, no hope. No party. No hope. BLOCK. Angels watched as Mary changed God's diaper. The universe watched with wonder as the Almighty learn to walk. Jesus may have had pimples. He may have been tone deaf. Perhaps the girl down the street had a crush on him, or vice versa. It could be that his knees were bony. For 33 years. He would feel everything you and I have ever felt. He felt weak. He grew weary. He was afraid of failure. He was susceptible to wooing women. He got cold, burped and had body odor. His feelings got hurt. His feet got tired and his head ached. Think of Jesus in such a light as well. It seems almost irreverent, doesn't it? It's not something we like to do. It's uncomfortable. It's much easier to keep the humanity out of the incarnation. Clean the manure from around the manger. Wipe the sweat out of his eyes. Pretend they never snored or blew his nose or hit his thumb with a hammer. He's easier to stomach that way. There's something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable.

[00:47:30] But don't do it. For heaven's sake, don't. Let him be as human. As he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our world for only if we let him in can he pull us out. This is the message of the incarnation that God identifies with the human lot. And that he understands from the inside out. Frank Lake. Says that God has not only spoken to us through his son. What is perhaps more important, He has listened through his son. He's kind of alluding to the first couple versus the book of Hebrews Disney, where it says in former times God spoke through the prophets. But in these last days, he has spoken to us through his son. And truly, that is a wonderful message that God speaks to us through his son. But we'll talk more about that because that's one of the things that's significant. We learn about God through his son, etc.. But he's saying here that he has listened through his son and he's listened by getting his ear to the ground. You might say he's he's come and dwelt among us and lived among us. He's listened. What that means is that he's not this unmoved mover. But as someone has said, he's a fellow sufferer who understands. There's a lot about this in the Book of Hebrews, isn't there? Because he's been through these things. He knows what it's like when we suffer and are tempted. And it's wonderful to be able to help us. And we don't have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence. Because he understands. Because, you know. Got a question about this. Does this mean? But God knows in a way he didn't know before.

[00:49:56] Just think or. Is it more about? In other words, does God genuinely know? What it means to be fully human, to to know the human condition, to know the human lot sort of from the inside out now in such a way that he he knows in a way that he didn't know before. And we understand from a human perspective that there's a theoretical way of knowing things. As opposed to a personal sort of existential way of knowing things. And you know the whole thing about walking a mile in someone else's shoes. We understand that when you are next to people and you hear their heartbeat, you. You know, things that you didn't know in a way that you might have known sort of theoretically before. Right. There's a difference. In human knowing. My father. He has to make this point by telling sharing. He said, you know, when I went to missionary training school. Getting ready to go to be a missionary in India. I learned about the high infant mortality rate. That they have in India. This was 50 years ago and he said. So I learned that one out of every so-and-so, you know, so many babies doesn't make it through their first year of life. So I see. Said I knew that. I knew the fact. But he said, when we buried our own six month old little boy and the red clay. Then I knew that fact. In a different sort of way. And he said then it was that the some of the people came. And put their arms around me and said, Oh, you're one of us now. You understand? Well, I guess my question is, does God know? In a different sort of way now. Or does that raise questions about divine omniscience? And does that mean God has now changed? That raises another issue, right? So is this really about that or is it more.

[00:52:21] No, it's not so much because God's way of knowing it isn't like ours. That's kind of limited. He knows it all. And so what this is really about is revealing to us what God knows more about the fact that there's actually been a sort of a change almost in what God knows and heard directly into our own painful frustrations. Engaged our precarious conditions, tested our utilities. And embraced our despairs. As I've already alluded to, it seems that ministry, if it's going to be rooted and grounded in Christ and if this ministry is actually his ongoing ministry in the world that we participate in. Ministry needs to be unconditional. These guys, Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch, maybe you've read some of their works. Actually, Allen Hersh has written a book called The Forgotten Ways and several others in there. They're both from Australia. They're these are books about emerging churches and missional and churches that are truly missional. And one of the points that they really make strongly is that the church, if it's truly to be missional as opposed to being attraction or, you know, attraction, is if you build it, they will come. National is going. To where they are. And if it's truly to be missional, the church has to be incarnation of. And I spent four chapters in this book talking about what that means. And they, for example, affirming the culture of the people with whom we're working. They don't understand why you want to learn that language, Huh? They don't understand. The Uzbeks. Which group is that again? You keep you. They. They. So is that what they're called. The Azeris. The is there. Yeah. But to one another to want to know their culture. Right. And to want to actually you can't get into people's culture without their language.

[00:54:39] Can you? Language is language is the key is one of the keys. Not everything. I mean, you know, but language is a key. But affirming the culture of people with whom we're working. Comes critical, doesn't it, for a ministry? Somebody did a study years ago on ministry in Appalachia. You don't really have to leave. Go very far to go to a third world country. Just come with me to eastern Kentucky. I'll take you there. Or maybe even southeast Ohio. You're on the edge of Appalachian Appalachia there, aren't you? It's a different you know, it's a different world. Somebody's studied ministries that have gone in there because many folks have gone in and tried to do ministry there. And it's not an easy place to do ministry. But said one of the things they found was that one characteristic of ministries that do well in Appalachia is that they learn to like it. They might have gone down there. Listening to NPR and Beethoven. But when they got there, they learned to like bluegrass. Affirming the culture of the people with whom we're working, you know? They talk about identifying with the people, group abiding among a group of people, abiding among a group of people. That's important, isn't it? Just. Just being there, living among a group of people. And lastly, going to them rather than having them come to us, of course. God so loved the world that he. Came to us. We didn't send a committee to knock on heaven's door, did we? And this is just being. Incarnation of. So this this doctrine of the incarnation has profound implications for how the church is the church, because we are the body of Christ. And so we're supposed to be like this, right? Well to the Chinese.

[00:56:57] Philosopher poet kind of says it similarly. Maybe you've heard this before. He says, Go to the people. Live among them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build on what they have. Man named Ken good son, who was a methodist pastor. This man eventually became a bishop in the Methodist church and was quite a preacher. And he told Goodson. One night after they had supper together about the breakthrough that happened that actually created the openness to. The gospel being planted there among the monarchs. Shortly after they arrived there, Winifred, his wife, gave birth to Harley's first child, a baby boy. And he said, We named him Robert. And we called him Bobby. And we raised him there out on the edge of the forest, in the jungle. And he was the apple of our eye, You know, everything we wanted in a little boy. But he said one day, when my son was about five years old, he was. I looked out the window of the medical dispensary and I saw him and he was running. Across this field. And then he fell down. Then it got up. And he ran some more, and then he fell down. And I. Iran and. Picked up this feverish body of my own little boy. And I held him in my arms and I said, Bobby, don't worry. Your dad knows everything there is to know about that tropical fever. And he's going to help you get better. But he said, I pulled out all the stops, everything that I've been taught, everything that I knew. But three or four nights later. As that fever continued to rage. I accepted what I was afraid of from the beginning. And the next morning, our little Bobby was dead.

[00:59:13] He said. I went down to the woodshop and I made a little box, a little kind of coffin. To put my own son in. And I. Nail the lid on it. And then I went to this clearing to find a spot where it was appropriate to bury my son and to get there. He said I had to go by the village. And when I was gone by the village, one of the old men of the village saw me and he said to me. What are you doing with that box on your shoulder? Where are you going? And he said, Oh, my son. He's died. And he said, I'm going to bury him. And the old man said, Well, here, let me help you. And so together we carried. That little coffin. And, you know. George Harley said to Ken Goodson as he was telling him about this. He said, you know, for five years or five years, I lived next to that village. And he said every Sunday. We would hold service in that chapel. But it was only me and my wife, Winifred and Bobby. He said They let me minister to their bodies, but they wouldn't really accept my gospel. To them, Christianity was a foreign religion. And it was for white men, not for that. We said. So we took one. He took one end and I took the other. And we came to this place in the forest to bury the boy. And he said, We dug a hole and we put that box down in it and we covered it up with dirt. And he said, I just broke. At that moment there was he said, how the middle of an African jungle. 8000 miles away. From family members and loved ones.

[01:01:25] I just felt so all alone. I couldn't take it anymore. And he's just I just began to cry and sob. You said when the old African saw me. Doing that. I just sort of fell down, you know, on my knees and began to sob. And he kind of squatted down and he just kind of looked at me. And he looked at me. So strangely. Now, son. He said he just got up and he started running back toward the village screaming. At the top of his voice. And Ken Goode said some said to George Hartley, well, what did he scream? So he kept screaming, White man. Why, man. He cry like one of us. You said that. A few hours later, one of her and I were eating. Suffer together. Everything in us was broken up. We just decided it's time to go home. This isn't working out. You said there was a knock at the door. And when I opened the door, there stood the chief. The tribe man behind him was everybody. A lot of others. And that next Sunday, he said. They weren't just in the chapel. They were sitting around and. I guess God had a son two, didn't he? And he gave his son. To break through. He cried like one of us. And it seems like that that's also what message that people need to know and understand. I don't know. If a lot of people know that even though. They say Christmas carols and maybe go to church or. But that's the good news of the gospel. That God has not only spoken to us, but he's listened to us and he cries like one of us. And I think the Christmas season is a season at least to make that point, drive that point home.

[01:03:59] David Bryant says unprotected and vulnerable in his humanity. Jesus entered directly into our own painful frustrations. Engaged our precarious conditions, tasted our utilities. And embraced our despairs. You know, when I began to understand. My role as a pastor and understanding this this incarnation of movement that I was supposed to be caught up in, it actually helped me make sense out of things that to me, sometimes I, you know, I thought were a waste of time. You know, I wish I didn't have to do that so that I could do something that I thought was more important. But things like, you know, just. Taking the time to get to know people, learning their names, working alongside and playing with them. Sharing their joys and sorrows, gaining an appreciation for their culture. Getting involved in the life of their community. And then letting people get to know you that there's a kind of reciprocity in this, you know, making ourselves vulnerable to them. Letting them observe us in our humanness. Staying there long enough so that all that can happen. Yeah, that's one of the you know, I'll never forget that. That afternoon I was at the parsonage and the last pastoral church that I served, the parsonage was right next door to the church. Not necessarily a good arrangement, because sometimes you. End up being a kind of an ad hoc janitor. Oh, I forgot my kid go next door to the park. You know, you get caught in these kinds of things. And I was over there that afternoon working on my sermon, and there was a terrible. Thunderstorm and a real downpour like you wouldn't believe. It was raining cats and dogs. And I thought to myself, Oh, this is going to be bad.

[01:06:16] That kitchen roof. And there's got to be some water in that kitchen by now. I stopped what I was doing and I went over and looked. In the kitchen to see if there was any water. And sure enough, there was about two inches of water on that kitchen floor. But Claire Hunt, she was already there. With a mop and a bucket. And she was mopping the floor. Well, what could I do? I was sort of stuck now. You know, if she hadn't been there, I could have just gone back to my office and called the trustee chairman and told him that he had a problem. But she was there mopping the water up. So now I was sort of stuck. I could just go back to my sermonizing. So I went and got another mop and a bucket, and for the next hour or so we mop the floor. And got the water out of there. But you know, I think that was the afternoon I became Claremont's pastor. It wasn't the sermon that I my high and holy sermon that I preach. The next Sunday it was. That's just its big incarnation, wasn't it? God identifies, we identify as well. A second. So what an important thing. The significance of the incarnation, The Incarnate Nation means that God has pronounced his verdict on fallen human creation and fallen human nature. He's chosen to redeem it. Rather than destroy it. Let me explain a little bit what I mean here. God creates. The world and puts Adam and Eve in a garden and they screw things up and people keep screwing things up. And you might think that there comes a point where God says, Well, plan didn't work. Let's try a plan B. And I think there is a flood story back in the Old Testament.

[01:08:43] That indicates that God came pretty close to going down that road. But he chose not to. And his choice was, Oh, no, I'm not going to. Destroy. And creation. I'm going to redeem it. I don't know about you, but God has a lot more patience. God has a lot more, more patience than I do. Why not just wipe it out? But from the flood story on. God says no. I'm going to work redemptive live from within. And what I'm trying to say here is that by taking on human flesh. By becoming flush by a swimming flush. Isn't that a way of affirming? Human flesh saying, I'm not going to destroy this. I'm going to redeem it. Emil Brunner says that God's incarnation means that God's will is holy, a will for humanity. He's saying yes to what's human. And C.S. Lewis says that God has forever hallowed human flesh. I mean to today by assuming it. He's making a statement about it, isn't he? He's making a statement about it. It's radically fallen, but it's good. And I'm not. I haven't given up on it yet. Edwin Lewis, the guy I. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on says that he that the incarnation reveals that the way in which he's going to redeem is is by personally thrusting himself into the corrupted stream of human life. To establish their a power of purification. It's an inside out method, isn't it? He's not going to redeem it from the outside in, but he comes from within. To take it. And Redeemer. The early church fathers Gregory of Nyssa says the UN assumed as the unhealed. If you're going to heal something, you have to. You've got to assume it. Got to go where the problem is.

[01:11:10] If you're going to fix it. And God has chosen to do that by thrusting himself into this corrupted stream of human life. It's interesting in the. Prolog to the Gospel of John. There's kind of a. He doesn't come right out and quote Genesis one, does he? But when he says. In the beginning was the word. Wouldn't every Jew who read that have thought? In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. They would have gotten the point. So in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and God said everything that he has made was very he was very good. Now we've got another sort of in the beginning going on and there is a recreation going on. And he is saying human dignity, human nature is redeemable. John is saying this if something as unique. And as profound as that original act of creation itself. Incarnation. This is this is a central act in the Christian story, isn't it? I've been reading a book by Thomas T.F. Torrance Re recently called Incarnation and some lectures that he. Gave probably back 30 years ago. He passed away a couple of years ago and his nephew and they've put these together, pieced them together mostly from his typed out note. So it's pretty much word for word. But he has a profound grasp of how the son of God redeems in the incarnation. And I've been captured by a couple of this of the statements of his, the Son of God, so clothe himself with our humanity, he says, and so subdued it in himself that he converted it back from its resentment and rebellion to glad surrender to the Holy will of God. He thus lifted humanity up and himself to communion with the father, setting it again within the divine peace, drawing it within the Divine Holiness, and placing it within the direction of the divine love.

[01:13:32] See what He is doing as he is redeeming it from within. He's making right what Adam hears the second Adam right. And in every point where Adam's screwed up, you might say wherever where Adam goes one way, he he the second. Adam restores us. There's also he put, he points out, a restoration of the image of God going on here from the beginning to end. He says he lives out within our perverted existence and from within our perverted humanity that distorts the image of God, the true life of man created after God and actualized in real righteousness and holiness. In other words, in all that he thought and willed and did, Jesus lived out among humanity a life of utter obedience and faithfulness to the to the Creator and Father. As such, he was the perfect image of God on Earth. Therefore, in him, our humanity is restored to its perfection in communion with God. God hasn't given up on humanity, has he? Where image bears were created in the image of God. And as bad as Adam was and as bad as the human race has been. You know, in moving away from its original intention, God could have just said trash the whole thing. But what he does is he sends his only son and in the person of his son, who assumes human flesh and becomes one of us, he lives it out the way it was supposed to be. Became what human beings were originally supposed to be. And creates now what the possibility that you and I joined to him. He now can live that out in us. This is a profound Lehigh view of humanity here. A profoundly high view of humanity. Therefore, in him, our humanity is restored to its perfection and communion with God.

[01:15:39] He does it the right way. And he and by doing this, what is he? He becomes this pioneer Disney of a whole new. You might say, those that are in Christ now. Joined to him. If this is the case, what this ought to lead to is a authentic Christian humanism. We used to use that phrase secular humanism, maybe a little more than we do now. Do you know what I'm talking about? You know, everyone has a view of humanity, of what human beings are and what they're supposed to do. But there's a secular humanism. That has a has an understanding of humanity. Christians, it seems to me, should have not. Sometimes I kind of a knee jerk reaction against sort of secular humanism. Godless humanism that wants to make the human everything under the sun and put humanity in the place of God. That's not the Christian version, is it? But there is a there is a authentic Christian humanism. That sees human beings as created in the image of God. We're image bearers. And that causes you to to go and minister to homeless people because their image bears. We have it in our Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator by certain inalienable rights. You know, where did that idea ever come from? The idea that human beings. Are sort of inherently worthwhile and. Good and ought to be respected and valued all the rest of that. That you know what? You know where that came from, where that idea came from. You don't find that in the ancient world. If you're a slave. You have no rights, no dignity. There are parts of the world today where human beings are just trashed. There's no reason why you should respect that person as a and give them any rights or, you know.

[01:18:12] Why do we care? We take this so for granted. It got into the world through through the Christian faith. If you want to read a book that'll make this point very profoundly read David Bentley Hart's book, The Atheist Delusion Atheist Illusions that Blows all these Christopher Hitchens New atheist guys who there's several of them. They're there. They're very harsh and polemical. And what's the word they're using? They're just. They're saying that all the bad things in the world are there because of religion. You know, if we could just get religion out of the world. We'd be a lot better off. And basically David Bentley heart just blows that whole thing. Shows how. Unfounded. And it is and history and you know and shows that basically the very idea that they take for granted, they wouldn't have they would have never thought that idea that human beings are inherently. Endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That's because we believe their image bears, but that the incarnation seals the deal, folks. It seals the deal. And leads to then an authentic Christian humanism. And so Thomas Merton, who hung out at so many Abbey, wrote this If the word of God assumed a human nature and became a man in all things like other men except sin, then surely there must be an authentic humanism. If God took on human flesh and thought that highly of it, then surely there must be an authentic humanism which is not only acceptable to Christians, but is essential to the Christian mystery itself. He goes on in defending the natural law, the civil rights of man, the rights of human reason, the cultural values of diverse civilizations. Scientific study and techniques medicine, political science, and a thousand other good things in the natural order.

[01:20:25] The church is expressing her profoundly Christian humanism, or in other words, her concern for man in all his wholeness and integrity as a creature and as the image of God. The salvation of man does not mean that he must divest himself of all that his human. But he must discard his reason, his love of beauty, his desire for friendship, his need for human affection, his reliance on protection, order and justice in society, his need to work and eat and sleep. A Christianity that despises these fundamental needs of man is not truly worthy of the name. There is a right and good kind of Christian humanism that we we ought to celebrate and be a part of and insist on. Because God thinks that highly of the human. So much so that he assumed it and he made sure we got it right. By becoming one of us and sort of doing it right for us so that then we could join in that. Be made new. This has implications for our attitude toward the material. Actually, Brian, you made a statement a little bit earlier tonight about something about. Celebrating, celebrating life as a holiday gift. I don't know if you made the connection between what I've been saying here, but yeah, celebrating life as a holy gift, celebrating human beings. And, you know, we're in a culture today. Have you noticed what's happened to humor? In American culture. I heard a pastor say recently, I don't watch sitcoms anymore. Because all the humor in them, too now is demeaning. He says it's as if humiliation has become an art. Have you noticed how much of our humor is just, you know, ripping people down, making fun of people? And our politics has become. And what that is, is it's actually see, it's a denial of the incarnates.

[01:22:51] It's wanting to make human beings less than human. It's degrading. I was talking to my my son, one of my sons, about this humor, how it's become this this bikini, this degrading kind of humor that rips. Now, there's a lot of things on the human condition that are that are funny. And there's lots of things that we can laugh at. You know, there's ways to make fun of those things, but that's not a demeaning kind of way, if you know what I'm saying. So I'm not against, you know. But yeah, he was saying. Yeah. Yeah, Dad, he said I. I grew up watching The Cosby Show. You said I watched those reruns and he could be so funny. But it was not demeaning. Kind of funny, you know? And I say that's a sign of us, of a culture and a civilization that's that's in the tank. God says I. That's so precious that I'm going to redeem it. I'm going to make sure we get it right. Has implications for our attitude toward the material here. What I mean by that is say God became embodied. You're an embodied spirit. You have a spiritual body. You know, a lot of people in ministry don't don't want to be embodied. We want to be super. We don't want to take care of our body. Right. If God. Became flesh and was embodied and took it that seriously. Maybe we need to take it seriously too, huh? And God actually is going to redeem our bodies. I believe in the resurrection of the body, the creed says. So it's not a disembodied redemption that's going to get me out of this prison house of the flesh so I don't have it. So I can just be a pure spirit.

[01:24:55] That's not God's vision, is it, for us? Leads to a sacramental understanding of reality. What do you think I mean, by a sacramental understanding of reality? I mean, that God can come to us through material things. Like. Water and bread. And why? These are. These are. Avenues. God can use the material to convey the spiritual. So when I and healing ministry anoint people with oil, for example, I'm using oil as a means through which not that there's something magical about oil, right? We don't make it. It's not magic. And I don't believe that somehow these Eucharistic elements, it's magic. Like Popeye spinach or something, you know? But I do believe that God can convey his presence through material things. Sometimes in the history of the church, we've set the material over against the spiritual. In the incarnation. God profoundly. Embraces the material, says, I come through that. So that ordinary things become means through which God can come to us. Earth's crammed with heaven, right? In every common. Push a fire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes. The rest sit around and pluck blackberries. What's that saying? Is that the ordinary, mundane things of life. God comes to me. When I'm taking my kids to the orthodontist. Just like. I can experience God in that as I experience God when I'm in a worship service. Brother Lawrence, Right. I possess God in the noise and clatter of my kitchen. Just like I do when I'm at the Blessed Sacrament. A view that sees, you know. The ordinary, the mundane, the material as an avenue, a gateway through which we can experience not as the that's the enemy of the spiritual. Dietrich Bonhoeffer talked a lot about an earthy spirituality. What I what we're talking about here is something Hebrew, not maybe more Hebrew and less Greek.

[01:27:55] Shalom. Shalom. Kind of spiritual, you know, it's it's feasting. It's it's it's it's not seeing the the the things of this earth. As the enemies. So you have to starve yourself or beach or, you know. No. And Bonhoeffer says, I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg on Earth also stand with only one leg in heaven. So don't set those things over against that. The Incarnation says that word and flesh come together.