Tuesday, December 31, 2013

All Things for Good

In a May 2000 article featured in Christianity Today, author Philip Yancey once reflected on the verse from Romans 8:28 where Paul remarks, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Yancey illustrated that grand truth with the following story: 

“In high school, I took pride in my ability to play chess. I joined the chess club, and during lunch hour could be found sitting at a table with other nerds poring over books with titles like Classic King Pawn Openings. I studied techniques, won most of my matches, and put the game aside for 20 years. 

Then, in Chicago, I met a truly fine chess player who had been perfecting his skills long since high school. When we played a few matches, I learned what it is like to play against a master. Any classic offense I tried, he countered with a classic defense. If I turned to more risky, unorthodox techniques, he incorporated my bold forays into his winning strategies. Although I had complete freedom to make any move I wished, I soon reached the conclusion that none of my strategies mattered very much. His superior skill guaranteed that my purposes inevitably ended up serving his own. 

Perhaps God engages our universe, his own creation, in much the same way. He grants us freedom to rebel against its original design, but even as we do so we end up ironically serving his eventual goal of restoration. If I accept that blueprint-- a huge step of faith, I confess—it transforms how I view both good and bad things that happen. Good things, such as health, talent, and money, I can present to God as offerings to serve his purposes. And bad things, too—disability, poverty, family dysfunction, failures—can be redeemed as the very instruments that drive me to God. 

A skeptic might accuse me of flagrant rationalization, arguing backwards to make evidence fit a prior conclusion. Yes, exactly. A Christian begins with the conclusion that a good God will restore creation to its original design, and sees all history as proceeding toward that end. When a Grand Master plays a chess amateur, victory is assured no matter how the board may look at any given moment. In a miracle of grace, even our personal failures can become tools in God's hands.”1 

Now there’s a great thought going into the New Year! No matter what may come about—disease, disaster, debt or death—all events are playing into the script God has written. Just look into the pages of Scripture and take notice of how God brought good out of evil. Joseph’s imprisonment was a backdoor into the palace. Job’s suffering eventually came to end and he was doubly blessed in all his possessions. Daniel was miraculously preserved through the lion’s den. The martyrdom of Steven haunted the conscience of Saul until the risen Jesus gloriously saved him and made him into the Apostle Paul. Most of all, Jesus died on the cross--the greatest act of evil and injustice ever perpetrated--only to conquer death on the third day. 

To judge God solely on the basis of the evil we see in this fallen planet would be unfair. Perhaps another illustration will help. Imagine this scenario: vandals break into a museum displaying works from Picasso’s Blue Period. Motivated by sheer destructiveness, they splash red pain all over the paintings and slash them with knives. It would be the height of unfairness to display these works—a mere sampling of Picasso’s creative genius and spoiled at that—as representative of the artist. The same applies to God’s creation. What we see today has been spoiled by humanity's sin. However. God has already hung a “Condemned” sign above the earth, and has promised judgment and restoration.2

Just because God has not dealt with evil and injustice yet, doesn't mean that He never will. Solomon was right, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecc. 3:11). Only a truly sovereign God has the ability to redeem evil for His purposes and reverse the curse of sin. And only looking from the lens of eternity can we accurately judge what God is doing in time.  

1. Philip Yancey, "Philip Yancey: Chess Master," Christianity Today, 22 May 2000 <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/may22/35.112.html?start=1>    

2. Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990), 58-59.     

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Debunking Christmas Myths

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.” Such is the way J.R.R. Tolkien described how the One Ring was lost in the lore of Middle Earth, yet the same could also be said about of the traditions we celebrate each year around Christmas. Truth has a way of becoming clouded with the passing of time. Facts that were once well known become distorted and obscured so that after years of revisionism and historical amnesia we are left with a canon of mythology.

The same has happened to Christmas. As time has passed Christmas, and the traditions that go along with it, has changed shape. The bloated and commercialized holiday that extends from Black Friday to the end of December has taken on a form today that is product of imagination from the Victorian era and clever marketing from retailers.

How did a holiday which was originally celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus get turned into Santa Claus, ornamented evergreens and gift giving? Have you ever stopped long enough during the holiday mania to investigate some of the traditions that we unconsciously perpetuate each year?

A few years ago, I decided to do some investigating into the historical roots of Christmas. What I discovered simply blew me away, especially since I was coming from a Christian worldview. In my research I found out how much rich meaning has been lost and replaced by fairy tale. While I don’t have time to cover everything, but I thought it would be fun to debunk some of the biggest Christmas myths our culture has ignorantly imbibed.    

Myth #1: Santa Claus was just a jolly, fat guy.

Believe it or not, St. Nicholas was an actual person of history. Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in what is today modern-day Turkey to a wealthy couple. He was raised in a Christian home and his uncle Nicholas (after whom he was named) who happened to be the bishop of Patara, had a great influence on him.  

When His biological parents died during a plague he was left with an incredible sum of money, which Nicholas was quick to eschew. Instead, he donated much of it to the feed the poor and take care of the needy in his hometown.

Nicholas is most notably remembered for helping the family of a nobleman in Patara who had gone bankrupt. Ruthless creditors not only took the nobleman’s property, but also threatened to take his three beautiful daughters as well. The father’s only hope was to marry off his daughters before the creditors could take them, thereby saving them from a life of slavery and prostitution. Unfortunately, he did not have money for the girls’ dowries, which were necessary for them to marry.

Nicholas heard of this dilemma and late one night threw a bag of gold in the family’s window to save the daughters. When Nicholas threw the gold, a few coins supposedly landed in one of the daughter’s stockings that she had set out by the fireplace to dry. The father ran outside and caught Nicholas in the act, but Nicholas made the man swear not to tell anyone of his charity. Thus, began the tradition, of secret gift-giving.

Nicholas grew to be a well-loved Christian leader and was eventually voted the Bishop of Myra, a port city that the apostle Paul had previously visited (Acts 27:5-6). However, to be a Christian during this time was dangerous business. In 303 AD, the Roman emperor, Diocletian, issued a formal edict to destroy all Christian churches, burn the Scriptures and imprison or kill those who preached Christ. The storm of persecution which led to the deaths of hundreds of Christians, eventually reached Myra. Despite threats of imprisonment Bishop Nicholas continued to preach boldly the deity of Jesus. He was soon seized by torturers and confined to prison for several years, bearing severe suffering and enduring great hardship in an overcrowded dungeon.

As providence would have it, Constantine eventually took the seat of power over the Roman Empire. Shortly after his ascension to the throne, in 313 AD Constantine supposedly converted to Christianity and issued the Edict of Toleration, officially giving Christianity tolerance throughout the Empire. Constantine ordered the release of those imprisoned for Christ, and so Nicholas was granted his freedom.    

Afterward, Nicholas reportedly also traveled to the Council of Nicaea, where he helped defend the deity of Jesus Christ in A.D. 325. The council ended the “Arian heresy,” which demoted Jesus to a “less-than-God” status. During the debates Nicholas became so enraged with Arius for formulating his detestable doctrines that he slapped the monk in the face!1

Nicholas eventually died in 343 AD and was eventually was canonized into sainthood by the Catholic Church. Now I ask you, which version of the story is more exciting—the preacher who was persecuted for his faith or the guy who comes down the chimney bearing gifts? Why don’t Christians tell their kids about the real St. Nicholas—a man who preached Christ, suffered for his faith, and smacked down heretics—rather than the fairy tale version?

Myth #2: December 25 is Jesus’ birthday.

Contrary to popular opinion Jesus was not born on December 25th.  In fact, historians and Bible scholars are not certain when exactly Jesus was born. The New Testament does not state the year, month or day of Christ’s birth. Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (Why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?) Why then if neither history nor the Bible pinpoints the date of Christ’s birth do we celebrate on the 25th? 

The origin of winter celebrations goes back to before the time of Christ when many ancient cultures celebrated the changing of the seasons. The Romans had a festival called Saturnalia to observe the winter solstice on Dec. 25th.  This festival was a pagan holiday dedicated to the god of agriculture—Saturn.    

Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome.

When Christianity found a foothold in the Roman Empire, the Christians wanted to commemorate the birth of Christ so they took this pagan holiday on Dec. 25th, changed its meaning inserted Jesus in place of Saturn and observed Jesus’ birthday on the day that Saturn supposedly went into hiding for a season.  So in 440 AD the pope Julius I declared December 25th as the official day for celebrating Christ’s birth.  

The pagan origins of the Christmas date, as well as pagan origins for many Christmas customs (gift-giving and merrymaking from Roman Saturnalia; greenery, lights, and charity from the Roman New Year; Yule logs and various foods from Teutonic feasts), have always fueled arguments against the holiday. “It's just paganism wrapped with a Christian bow,” naysayers argue. But while kowtowing to worldliness must always be a concern for Christians, the church has generally viewed efforts to reshape culture—including holidays—positively. As a theologian asserted in 320, "We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of Him who made it."2

Myth #3: The Virgin Birth is a pagan idea that Christians stole to elevate the status of Jesus.

Some critics of Christianity teach that the Christian religion was not based upon divine revelation but that it borrowed from pagan sources. In recent times the virgin birth has come under intense scrutiny because revisionist historians and skeptics claim that many religions around the time of Christ believed in a something like a god being born in a miraculous way.

The Greeks believed that Alexander was the son of Zeus. The legend goes that Zeus took the form of a serpent and slithered into the bed of Olympia, Alexander's mother, where he seduced and impregnated her. The ancient Egyptians had a goddess by the name of Isis who miraculously produced a son named Osiris when she was impregnated by a sun-beam.

Many Buddhists believe that their founder was born when his mother Queen Maya had a dream that a white elephant with 6 tusks entered her side and months later brought forth a son which would become Buddha. 

Hinduism has its tradition that Krishna, after going through several reincarnations, including that of a fish and tortoise, eventually descended into the womb of a virgin princess named Devaki and was miraculously born. 

In reality Christmas was God’s plan, not man’s fiction because the nativity and Calvary and Easter were all predetermined before the foundations of the world by the triune God. We can easily understand that Christians did not invent Christmas or hijack ideas from other religions because we have the announcement of the virgin birth at the outset of human history.  If you will remember the first prophecy of Scripture was given by God in Gen. 3:15, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (KJV).”     

This prophecy is called by theologians the protoevangelion, the gospel before the gospel.  God announced to Adam and Eve that the "seed of the woman" would eventually crush the head of the serpent.  That term "seed of the woman" refers to a virgin birth, because in the Hebrew mind the seed referred to the male sperm.

How could there be a seed of a woman? The only way possible is if the seed was supernaturally generated and the virgin conceived without a man.  God later confirmed this to the prophet Isaiah in Is. 7:14, “Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Remember that Adam and Eve were not the only ones there in the Garden on this day, but so was Satan. The Father of lies  knew at the very beginning of human history what was going to happen and hearing this prediction of an incarnation and a virgin birth he began to counterfeit God's truth claims with own distortions. 

Another reason why the Christians could not have invented Christmas from pagan myths is because of the vast qualitative difference between the Gospel accounts and pagan myths. 

The pagan stories are filled with debauchery and crass human sexuality, whereas the Gospels are saturated with the holiness of God.  Mary is overshadowed by the invisible Spirit of God, whereas in all these other myths there are stories of seduction or fantastic stories involving animals impregnating women.

Lee Strobel quotes historian Edwin Yamauchi in his book, The Case for the Real Jesus:
            Some of the supposed parallels between paganism and Christianity break down upon close examination. Some of those that are cited—like Zeus, for example—are gods who lust after women, which is decidedly different from Jesus’ story. The mythological offspring are half gods and half men, and their lives begin at conception, as opposed to Jesus, who is fully god and fully man and who is also eternal but came into this world through the incarnation. Also, the Gospels put Jesus in a historical context, unlike the mythological gods. On top of that, even if a story of an extraordinary birth in mythology predates Christianity, that doesn’t mean Christians appropriated it . . . This is a perfect example of the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”). Plato wrote about the existence of God long before Paul authored his epistles, but the latter is no way depended upon the Greek philosopher. The argument of pagan derivation assumes too much in the way of parallelism and overlooks the radical differences.”3


Unlike mythical accounts the New Testament accounts are based on eyewitness testimony. In 2 Peter 1:16 we read, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

Sources

1. William J. Federer, There Really Is A Santa Claus (New York: Amerisearch, 2003)

2. Elesha Coffman, "Why December 25th ?" Christianity Today, 8 August 2008 <http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2000/dec08.html>

3. Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 179.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recognizing Jesus

One of my favorite Christmas stories is about the old shoe cobbler who dreamed that Jesus would come visit him on Christmas Eve. The dream was so real that he was convinced it would come true. So the next morning he got up and cut green boughs to decorate his little cobbler shop. Before the work day began he was all ready for Jesus to come and visit. He was so sure that Jesus was going to come that he just sat down and waited for Him. 

The hours passed and Jesus didn't come. However, an old man came. He shuffled inside for a moment to get warm out of the winter cold. As the cobbler talked with him he noticed the holes in the old man's shoes, so he reached up on the shelf and picked out a new pair. The cobbler made sure they fit, that his socks were dry and sent him on his way. Still he waited, but Jesus didn't come. 

Then an elderly woman showed up. It was obvious the woman hadn't eaten a decent meal in days. So the cobbler prepared a lunch for her from his own pail. After she finished her tea and bread she thanked the cobbler, “Merry Christmas and God bless you laddy!” and headed out into the chill. By now it was late in the afternoon and the cobbler sat down again to wait for Jesus. But Jesus still didn't come. 

The silence of the afternoon was broken when he heard a little boy crying out on his front stoup. He went out to talk with the boy, only to discover that the boy had been separated from his parents and didn't know how to get home. So the cobbler put on his coat, locked up his shop, took the boy by the hand and led him home. 

When he came back to his little shoe shop it was almost dark and the streets were emptied of people. The cobbler realized his dream was just that—a dream—there would be no Jesus. In a moment of despair he lifted his voice to heaven and said, "Oh Lord, why didn't you come?" A tear rolled down his cheek and he seemed to hear a voice speaking to his heart "Oh cobbler, lift up your heart. I kept my word. Three times I knocked at your friendly door. Three times my shadow fell across your floor. I was the man with the bruised feet. I was the woman you gave to eat. I was the boy on the homeless street.” You see Jesus had come, but the cobbler just didn't realize it. 

So it was for the first Christmas as well. The Son of God entered the world and there was a “No Vacancy” sign on the door of Bethlehem’s Motel 6 (Luke 2:7). The apostle John remarked, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (1:11). It’s almost too ironic, the Creator of the world entered our time-space continuum and it was witnessed by more animals than humans. Had the innkeeper of known Mary was about to give birth to his Redeemer you’d think he would have given them the corner penthouse. 

Just as the Christ-child was overlooked we often are guilty of the same ignorance this time of year. Do we see opportunities to minister to others that the world pushes aside? Christ reminds us, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:11). Let’s keep our hearts, doors and wallets open to others this Christmas and you just might be surprised who the Lord might send your way.           

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Secret Santa

In 2011 the CBS Evening News profiled the story of an anonymous Pennsylvania business man who every year plays the role of Secret Santa. Dressed in red and wearing a Kangol cap with "Elf" embroidered on the back, Secret Santa visits thrift stores, laundromats and bus stations handing out $100 bills to people he meets along the way. According to the report, this man gives away around $20,000 of his own money each Christmas.

When asked why he felt compelled to do this, Secret Santa said, “Because behind every one, there's a story. And to hear their story, and what a difference that little bit of money at that little point in time makes in their life, gives me an awful lot of joy. So there's a lot of happiness that comes with this. I get more joy out of it than they do."1

One man who received two crisp one-hundred dollar bills was 30-year-old Thomas Coates. "I didn't earn that," Coates said to Secret Santa as he slipped the money into his hand. "You did earn it," Secret Santa replied. "Because I can tell you're a good man." Coates began to tear up because he couldn’t remember the last time anyone called him a “good man”.

Coates is a deadbeat by most accounts, including his own. Addicted to heroin, he hocked his own son's toys for drug money. Interestingly, the night before Coates met Secret Santa—during yet another fight with his girlfriend—she suggested he try something radical—a prayer. Coates said his girlfriend told him, “Maybe you can shoot a prayer up to God real quick. I know you don't really believe in him, but maybe you can start.”

And so he did pray for the first time since childhood. Then, out of the blue, Secret Santa shows up slipping $100 bills into his hand. A display of that kind of kindness from a total stranger the day after he prayed was too much of a coincidence for this atheist to bear. “It's amazing,” Coates said. “That to me was a miracle. That was God saying, 'Alright, you had enough now. I'm going to show you something.' So from here on out it's up to me.” After meeting Secret Santa, Coates checked himself into a treatment facility.  Although he's done it before, he says this will be the first time with God at the helm.

“Maybe that gave him the hope that he needs to break his addiction,” Secret Santa said. “And maybe that will be the turning point that will change his life and maybe he won't go back. Wouldn't that be worth it?”2 (Watch the video here)

As we celebrate this Christmas remember that one of the messages of Advent is hope. The nation of Israel was under a veil of silence for 400 years. The prophets had spoken about a coming Messiah, but it seemed he was nowhere to be found. Israel had become a doormat mat that invading armies would wipe their boots on as they moved across the Mediterranean to plunder other nations. The iron legions of Rome had tight grip on the Jewish people.

Then in a tiny corner of the Roman Empire, in Bethlehem, where the sheep population probably outnumbered the people, the long awaited Messiah was born. The heavenly silence was broken as God came into the world kicking and screaming as tiny infant. His robes were swaddling clothes. His bed a manger. And the welcoming committee for the Son of God was a rabble of ruddy shepherds.

Frederick Buechner, in The Hungering Dark, writes:
"Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If the holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too.
And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and re-create the human heart, because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully."3  

The Christ child was better than any gift the Secret Santa could muster from his wallet. The money would be spent and then what? At the first Christmas, God illuminated a stable with the Light of the World. Christ came into a dark and violent world, bringing with him hope and light. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

The song “O Holy Night” says it best, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining,'Til He appear'd and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

The hope of Christmas is that God is never too far away. While we grope in the darkness, Christ wants to invade our hearts and fill it with love, joy and peace that will endure forever.  

1. Timothy Stenovec, "Anonymous Secret Santa Hands out $100 Bills in America's Poorest City," Huffington Post, 1 December 2011, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/anonymous-good-samaritan-secret-santa-video_n_1123869.html

2. Steve Hartman, "Secret Santa Inspires Heroine Addict to Clean up," CBS Evening News, 16 December 2011, <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/secret-santa-inspires-heroin-addict-to-clean-up/

3. Fredrick Buechner, The Hungering Dark (San Francisco: Harper, 1985), 13-14.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

God in Our Neighborhood

Not long ago I saw a billboard with the simple message, "Don't make me come down there" --God. It puts a smile on the face of the Christian who believes that Jesus is coming back. While it is exciting to delve into biblical prophecies about the return of Christ, it is equally inspiring and encouraging to our faith to understand the prophecies foretelling His first arrival on this planet. Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus many godly people from Moses to Malachi prophesied about the coming Messiah, the King who would deliver Israel. In fact the prophets revealed so many details about the coming Christ that it is difficult to believe that the people around Him didn’t recognize who Jesus was. But it’s still like that today, isn’t it? Despite much evidence, many refuse to acknowledge Him.

The prophet Isaiah predicted of the Messiah that “there was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look” (Is. 53:3). In other words, if you were to put Jesus in a lineup of average Joes you wouldn’t notice anything different about Him. Imagine, a Savior with skin on. Deity in diapers. A God-man who felt hunger pangs, had dirt under his fingernails and grew weary after a hard day’s work. 

The Message Bible paraphrases John 1:14 like this, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” Just read the Christmas story over again and notice the fallen world Christ came to save. The boot of Rome oppressed and taxed the Jews. Life was cheap. Herod the Great, “the butcher of Bethlehem,” committed infanticide to assuage his delusional paranoia. The overcrowded inn had no room for Joseph and his burgeoning bride, so Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a feeding trough. 

Christian author Philip Yancey elaborates:
A succession of great empires tramped through the territory of Israel as if wiping their feet on the vaunted promised land. After the Assyrians and Babylonians came the Persians, who were in turn defeated by Alexander the Great. He was eventually followed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Jews' worst villain until Hitler. Antiochus began waging war against the Jewish religion. He transformed the temple of God into a worship center for Zeus and proclaimed himself God incarnate. He forced young boys to undergo reverse circumcision operations and flogged an aged priest to death for refusing to eat pork. In one of his most notorious acts he sacrificed an unclean pig on the altar in the Most Holy Place, smearing its blood around the temple sanctuary.
Antiochus's actions so incensed the Jews that they rose up in an armed revolt that's celebrated every year as the holiday Hanukkah. But their victory was short-lived. Before long, Roman legions marched into Palestine to quash the rebellion and appointed Herod, their "King of the Jews." After the Roman conquest, nearly the entire land lay in ruins. Herod was sickly and approaching seventy when he heard rumors of a new king born in Bethlehem, and soon howls of grief from the families of slain infants drowned out the angels' chorus of "Glory to God and on earth peace." First-century Israel was a conquered, cowed nation. This, then, was the neighborhood Jesus moved into: a sinister place with a somber past and a fearful future.1
When Jesus came down to humanity, he came all the way down. Philippians 2:5-7 is paraphrased this way, “He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process” (MSG). 

Rather than lobbying for His right to remain in heaven and continuing to enjoy all the benefits of that exalted role as the second member of the Godhead and Lord of the created world, He willingly said “Yes.”  He agreed to cooperate with a plan that would require His releasing ecstasy and accepting agony.  In a state of absolute perfection and undiminished deity, He willingly came to earth. Leaving the angelic hosts who flooded His presence with adoring praise, He unselfishly accepted a role that would require His being misunderstood, abused, cursed, and crucified. He unhesitatingly surrendered the fellowship and protection of the Father’s glory for the lonely path of obedience and torturous death.

God willingly dressed in street clothes and entered our world, joining those held hostage to sin. On the cross, Jesus defeated Satan and set us free from the power of sin. Augustine summed up the Incarnation like this, “God became a man for this purpose: since you, a human being, could not reach God, but you can reach other humans, you might now reach God through a man.”


1. Philip Yancey, The Question That Never Goes Away (Creative Trust Digital Kindle Edition, 2013).