It’s All Grace
We’re constantly amazed at what science tells us about the world. From the complexity of galaxies and solar systems to the intricacies of atomic particles, science explores the what and how of the universe.
However, it humbly backs away from the questions of who the intelligence behind creation is and why anything exists at all. Those questions belong to the field of philosophy, of which religion is one manifestation.
Science can tell us the amount of tension required to make the strings of a guitar vibrate at various frequencies, and it can tell us which qualities of wood and string are preferred in the best instruments. Yet science dares not deny our human experience of beauty in hearing the music of a guitar or the reality that this experience comes not just from the instrument, but from the mind of a composer and at the hands of a musician.
So when we read in John’s Gospel that in the beginning was the Word and that the Word is God and that the Word has become flesh in our history, we leave the realm of scientific limitation and enter the spiritual dimension. We experience the ultimate wonder. Wonder can be experienced on a physical level—the intake of breath, for instance—but it’s a phenomenon mostly of the spiritual level. It’s how a human is touched by the presence of God.
Paul’s letters, written twenty to thirty years after Jesus’ resurrection, are the earliest Christian testimony to the divinity of Christ (Colossians 1:15–20; Philippians 2:5–11). The Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation, both written around the last decade of the first century, are among the last New Testament writings. The antiquity of the writings indicates that the earliest Christians were already experiencing wonder at the personhood of Jesus.
In Advent and Christmas we approach the mystery of Christ with a sense of wonder. Christians claim familiarity with the One who created all things in a burst of energy from the tiniest seed of physical reality, the One who continues to protect life on our planet from searing solar flares by enfolding us in a magnetic field emanating from deep within the earth’s crust, the One who designed plants and animals to work in symbiotic relationship so that each benefits the other. For Christians, it is all mysteriously wonderful.
And it is all grace.