Deal W. Hudson
It began with a simple fact: When God created man and woman He did not give them the mind of an angel. If humans were angels, God could have delivered His Word directly into their minds by illumination. Though created in His image and likeness, men and women derive all that they know through the senses.
Nothing is known to the human mind that does not have its beginning in the person’s sensible encounter with the world. What is seen, heard, smelled, and touched is the beginning of all knowledge, from the color of a flower to the meaning of pi. The first principles governing our grasping the truth about things are themselves intuited, downloaded as it were, from our encounter with the world. If we look inside our minds we will see nothing that did not pass through our senses on its way.
God desired from His eternity that the men and women He created find their way back to Him after the Fall. God is love, after all. But sin lacerated human nature, obscuring but not destroying the mind’s capacity to know, whether through science or faith. The damage to the mind is this: Knowing becomes the grist for our idolatry, making our desire to know itself a source of temptation.
Thus God spoke His Word by sending that Word into the human world, His Son, the Word, incarnated in a human body. The Word lived as a sensible being among those who learn and know by their senses, for whom sensation had become the occasion of sin.
With the Incarnation, the good news of deliverance and redemption entered the human field of vision, made available to even the most depraved of minds. The Word becoming present to the senses and through the senses to the mind transfigured human existence. The way of knowing called Faith could “see through the glass darkly” the gift of God’s presence in the world, all that need be known and loved to receive eternal life.
That our Christmas revels are bedecked with bright colors, the sound of voices singing, the aroma of candles burning, the touch of a package given or received is celebration that “God came down” to find us, so we might find Him.
Published December 4, 2013