Our perspective of God changes dramatically in the New Testament because God came to us in different form.
I can’t how many times I have been reminded and drawn to the words Paul penned in his letter to the Philippians about Jesus (Phil: 2:6-8):
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Scholars tell us these words were an early creed. The creed that Paul recited to the people in Philippi was probably familiar to them, as it was intended to be recited. That is the nature of creeds: they are meant to be repeated.
Thus, I suppose, the fact that I find myself drawn over and over again to the Philippian creed is apt. It carries significant and timeworn meaning to me, as it certainly must have done for Paul and and the early followers of Jesus to be considered so worth repeating.
I found myself thinking again about these words today as I wrapped up another blog post (Lessons Learned from the Edge of the Wilderness). As often is the case when meditating on Scripture, meanings deepen, grow and broaden. The Philippian creed takes on new meaning for me in light of the exercise of comparing and harmonizing the “God of the Old Testament” with Jesus (another theme I have focused on in the past).
In Lessons Learned from the Edge of the Wilderness, I was thinking about the fact that Moses and the people of Israel were distanced from God – such is the fate of all people in our natural and sinful state. In this piece, I want to explore what that means (and why it is the case), and I want to explore why our perception of God changes in the revelation of Jesus.
Continue reading “Change of Perspective: From the God of Moses to Jesus”
God is a communicator, and He made us for communication with Himself.
The parallels between Genesis 1 and John 1 are obvious. Genesis 1 reads:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
John 1 reads:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
These parallels convey the idea that God is “verbal” by His very nature, and He communicated the universe into existence. Indeed, the creation story as it unfolds in Genesis bears this out:
- And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (gen. 1:3)
- And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” (Gen. 1:6)
- And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” (Gen. 1:9)
- Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation…. (Gen 1:11)
- And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night….” (Gen. 1:14-15)
- And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” (Gen. 1:20)
- And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds…” (Gen. 1:24)
- Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness….” (Gen. 1:26)
It’s interesting, isn’t it, that a plural pronoun is used for God in Genesis 1:26. To be verbal by nature, communicative by His very essence, God must have relationship within Himself. In John 1, we read that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God”, and then John goes further to say this:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)
Of course, he is talking about Jesus – God who became like us, the creatures He created in His own image. Of God and Jesus, John said,
“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God….” (John 1:11-12)
Continue reading “And God Said”