Within our confession of faith as followers of the Messiah, there are truths, necessary, profound, and most often apprehended with some measure of difficulty, without which the redeeming work of Christ on the cross has no coherency. While natural revelation, the revealing His divine attributes and His power through His created order, holds the world accountable to God in the world’s falleness and suppression of truth, there comes a point, as our Father calls us to Him, where we reach the limits of usefulness of natural revelation.
Our Father calls us by His Holy Spirit to step onto revelations found in the words of the authoritative and inspired Old and New Testament canon. Though, as aforementioned, God reveals some of His characteristics and truths in nature, foundational doctrines, the doctrine of the trinity of the Godhead, for example, cannot be found in observations of nature, in natural theology. Even common analogies used to illuminate the concept of the triune nature of the Godhead are often, at best, vague, and sometimes, at worst, may unintentionally lead to heretical concepts of the trinity such as that of modalism. However, the triune nature of God is revealed clearly in the New Testament, and though I may not be able to fully grasp and understand this truth, I accept it, one, because I hold the Bible as authoritative, and two, as previously mentioned, without it, the Gospel looses coherency and effectiveness. I hold to the truth of the trinity, in all its mystery, without much tension. Too, the concept of the trinity seems almost impossible to have been born in the minds of men.
The historicity of the physical resurrection of Christ, unlike the concept of the trinity, is a doctrine that can be reasonably validated by accepted methods of historical inquiry. I do not intend to construct an apologetic defending the physical resurrection of Christ. Others have done so far more convincingly than I am able. I affirm, however, that it requires no giant leap of blind faith to validate the physical resurrection of the Messiah. What I do with this formidable knowledge is another matter. I think of the early followers of Christ finding at the foot of the cross their grand cause crushed, in ruins. How did they summon the courage to die horrible deaths rather than recant their bold proclamation of a risen Messiah? After the cross and before Easter, they succumbed to fear. Post Easter, they left the paralysis of fear behind. Their remarkable transformation was the result of something the happened in time, in history. They were eyewitness to the risen Savior. We, two millennia later, marvel at what they beheld with their eyes. We read of Thomas, after he touched the wounds of the risen Christ, giving words to his wonder: “My Lord and My God!”
As profound and foundational are the doctrines of the trinity and the physical resurrection of the Messiah, and absolutely in no means do I intend to diminish their import, it is the incarnation of our Savior that leaves me most breathtakingly at a loss for words. That Christ, fully almighty God, immutable and fully in transcendence over creation, Who spoke into existence, ex nihilo, the natural order, should step out of eternity and condescend to take on flesh, a sinless human nature, and, out of love, subject Himself to a fallen creation, leaves me wanting for words. Christ, God almighty, His incarnation realized by His conception and virgin birth to Mary, was obedient to Father God to the point of death on the cross to provide propitiation for sin and, after defeating death, will for eternity forward, walk with us as we behold His cross-scarred body. Here we find incomprehensible truths that followers of the Messiah will feast on for eons.
- Romans 1:18-21
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
- John 20:27-29
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
- Ephesians 1:16-23
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.