I once heard a senior researcher at London University was speaking about ‘The Large Scale Structure of the Universe’. Each galaxy, like our Milky Way, contains billions of stars and space contains billions of galaxies. Astronomers have discovered that the position of these billions of galaxies is not haphazard but arranged in a huge pattern. In fact it looks remarkably like a stick man (scientists call it that). This stick man pattern is as big as the observable universe.
Scientists cannot explain how the pattern was caused following the Big Bang. But it was fascinating to hear this researcher say that some of the lines in the pattern are called “the fingers of God”!
He added that scientists don’t know what happened before the Big Bang. I sat there thinking, “Well, I do!” The Father loved the Son from all eternity and they shared in infinite glory. God created the universe, in all its vastness, through the Son and for him.
The large scale structure and majesty of the universe is difficult to comprehend. How much more so the glory which the Godhead has shared for eternity! It must be more wonderful, beautiful, pure and awe-inspiring than we could ever conceive of.
Yet it was in that splendour that the plan of salvation was made and initiated. The Son would leave that glory and lay aside his majesty. He would make himself nothing “taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
So it was that in an insignificant Middle Eastern village, the eternal, divine Word (as St John calls Jesus) took a human nature in the womb of a virgin peasant girl. God the almighty, eternal, glorious Son dwelt within the body of one of his weak, mortal, humble creatures. The Creator of the Universe took flesh as a microscopic, helpless human embryo. And nine months later the baby who was God was born.
Little wonder there were signs in the heavens, when their Creator had carried out such an awesome act of love. Little wonder the shepherds were disturbed and frightened by a choir of angels. Why should such little signs be inconceivable in the light of so breathtaking a divine intervention?
This staggering event began the climax of the self-revelation of God who is love. Since he is present throughout and beyond the universe, his love pervades the cosmos. The remotest corner of the Universe – some 156,000 billion billion miles away – is not beyond that love.
Because of that infinite love the fact is that “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!”
But death, even a death bearing the enormity of human sin and guilt, could not hold him. He “ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.” “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
It takes little faith to believe that the death of such a majestic Person more than dealt with the penalty of human sin. It is also not difficult to believe that death could not hold him – he rose again!
Sadly, in celebrating Christmas, some people want to keep Jesus as a harmless, irrelevant baby. Some baby!
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction