Really God, Really Human
At Immanuel, we have been going through the New City Catechism with our Sunday morning gathering we call Life Together.
This week, this was our question,
Yeah, I know, if you’re not a theology buff this might elicit nothing more than a shrug. But this point, and T.J. Tims himself, got me thinking down a line and I wanted to explore it here in this space.
T.J. made the point that our Redeemer must be everlasting, eternal, without beginning or end. He had several great reasons, but two things sort of jumped out at me and I wanted to give you an idea of how and why, here.
First, the very word “Redeemer.” It’s pseudo-Christianese. In our world, most people only use the word redeem to discuss coupons or special offers. Even then, we tend to grab the word “use” rather than redeem. But the word “Redeemer” has a sort of echo to it that gives me hope of hearing eternity.
It speaks of something that once was.
This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but it has such massive implications to me.
The idea that something used to be good, now it’s not, but it could be made good again, is hardwired into human DNA.
One of the lies that our world shouts at the top of its lungs says, “Who cares!? It’s all bad and it’s only getting worse! Just give up! Go with the flow!” This is embraced/echoed by people inside and outside the church. It’s an easy lie. But it’s one that always seems to unravel for every human being, whether they be avowed atheist or agnostic, at some point.
Our hearts break because of the broken world and we are forced to, at the very least, whisper, “This can’t be all there is. This can’t be as good as it gets.”
But when the word Redeemer comes, it’s like the sight of land from a rudderless ship, its sailors scruvy-ridden and starved. The word Redeemer says that it might be good, and it might be like it should, once again. That there might be a place where our parched souls drink. There might be a time when the ache within us settles on and grabs hold of something real and tangible and satisfying.
The second thing that this catechism question did was it told me that Jesus, being truly God, can remember Adam. He can remember Eve. He remembered them in a glorious state, unmarred by sin. He looked at them, in their beautiful eyes. He touched their cheeks. He laughed with them.
If Jesus were just a man, just a created man like me, then all He could have is what He knew from his birth in ~A.D. 0 through his ministry in ~A.D. 33. He could only hope at something the scripture just briefly touches on. He could only look forward to something. He wouldn’t have any memory whatsoever of what things were like, in the beginning. Further, his expression of humanity would be so limited. Incredibly short, small, inconsequential even. He might be the best man, but he would only have been doing His best.
But if He remembered? If He remembered then he would have a deep and fundamental understanding of relationship with His Father. He would know what it was to walk in glory. He would remember the trials of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and David.
My mind is humbled by this thought of a truly divine Redeemer.
He knows me.
He knew what I was supposed to be like, in the beginning in my glorified form and one day in my redeemed form. What I would have been like, had I been born sinless. Because He knows that’s where He’s leading me. He is taking me towards Himself. He is making me, by the day, more like that image of Himself.
If I just had a human man who I should look up to, the best I could hope for would be the handful of good days that man lived. Maybe good hours if I’m being brutally honest.
But I don’t just have a good man to look up to. I have a man who lived like Adam lived before he fell. I have a man who is God. And not just to look up to as example, but to rely on as Redeemer. This brings my heart to worship. He remembers, He knows, and He is Redeeming.