In the end, it’s not about toys, it’s not about turkey and gravy. It’s not about family, friends, gatherings, lighting candles, singing songs, or partying the season away. All of those things are nice, and some are more important than others. But – what’s most important of all is that we celebrate the coming to earth of the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus’ birth signaled the single most important event in all of history: God came to live among us!
There are many still today, perhaps the number is growing, perhaps not (on a percentage basis), who doubt the existence of God. God they say, if He exists couldn’t be the God of the Hebrew Bible. The Greeks and Romans had gods who were just like them: Filled with human emotions, lusts and passions, and a capricious and vengeful lot they were! Other cultures have had pantheisms of Gods. The Hindus have somewhere around 700M gods – and counting. Taoism, Shinto, Buddhism don’t even really talk about God, rather attainment of “Enlightenment.” Native Americans worshiped all kinds of natural creatures and endowed them with god like powers to explain their world.
The problem of course with all these approaches – and these are just a few – is that they are all “Religion” or what we Christians call “Man’s attempt to get to God.” We are rational creatures, that we all agree on. It seems quite natural therefore, in the absence of revealed knowledge, for man to try to explain the world around himself. So, how does this relate to the Hebrews and their claims of being the one tribe to whom God revealed Himself? Well, believe it or not, most of the explanation is right there in the Bible. If you’ve ever taken the time to read it, the account is quite fascinating.
God, the creator of the universe that we know as “Space-Time,” reached out and talked to these folks, the Hebrews, He revealed Himself and told them how they should live. He taught that they should separate themselves and live by a set of standards that in fact, nobody could attain! No human person that is. What I don’t get, is why so many folks categorically deny that God could exist outside of Space-Time? Why do we lead such “Sensual” lives, i.e., only depending on our senses to guide us? Why can’t we believe that there is indeed – something more? Why is that so difficult a stretch for some folks?
I’m going to help you out today. In preparation for the message of the Miracle of Christmas, I’ll tell you a little story. In essence, I’m going to quote you a story out of a book I read a long time ago. The book is called Flatland (Edwin Abbott, 1880). The book is nominally categorized as Science Fiction, but I’m here to tell you today that it has application across a wide variety of fields, including Philosophy and what we’ll use here today: Metaphysics.
The word Metaphysics is of course Greek in origin, and it breaks down thus: Meta means above, and physics refers to the physical world around us, so it means “Above the physical” in the narrow sense, and I would say it means even “Beyond our physical realm” in the broader sense. Merriam-Webster defines it: “abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience.” Thus, metaphysics seeks to understand that which is beyond our “Sensual” existence. Got that so far?
In the book Flatland, Mr. Abbott takes the reader through a place that is a two dimensional (2-d) world (think of a table top or a piece of paper), complete with 2-d characters, who are shaped roughly conforming to the normal shapes we associate with a 2-d realm: Triangles, squares, and various polygons and so on and so forth. Now, they have a “world” and civilization characterized with the same types of things we see going on in our society. They have institutions, governments, and even army’s and wars.
Their entire lives though are sensual, meaning they have no concept of anything that exists outside of their “Plane” of existence, the 2-d world they live in. Suddenly one day, a being of a third dimensional realm (3-d) contacts them in their “world.” This being is perceived as only vaguely a part of their realm as it “passes through” their 2-d realm. Only part of the 3-d being can be perceived at any one time in the 2-d realm in other words. If the 3-d being is situated such that it is completely outside of the 2-d realm, then it cannot be perceived at all at that particular time.
So, you get the point? The book also goes on to describe a one-dimensional realm (a line) where there are again, other beings that live there and who in turn, have no concept of a 2-d or 3-d realm. The whole concept of “higher” realms of existence is lost on those who exist in any particular dimensional reality. Hang with me now, hang with me! I told you this was going to relate to the Christmas story, right? So, let’s see what implications this has for us. We used to think we lived in a purely 3-d realm, until Mr. Einstein came along and pointed out that time in essence is a 4th dimension for us. So, this reality called “Space-time” defines for us our “realm of existence.” But, we can clearly see now that both the study of Metaphysics, and basic principles of dimensional analysis can be used to postulate the existence of “higher realms” of existence.
Have you “Got it” yet? You’re thinking, I can tell you are thinking now! You see, if those realms exist, there is absolutely no way we could ever possibly perceive them – unless – someone from those realms “passed through” our realm and made themselves known to us. *DING!* Did the light just go on for you? That’s what Jesus did for us – that’s who Jesus is! In essence, He is “God” from a realm of existence outside our “Space-time” and He tells us, through His book (The Bible) that He (God the Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit) created our entire realm, and now we know that He came to earth as “One of us” too. How could He possibly have done that? Well, that’s the mysterious part, but since He created our realm, He knows exactly how it works, and easily could have made it so that He could become one of us.
Many folks still ask today, what does God look like? Well, I’m here to tell you that when He came into our “Realm” of existence, He looked like just like one of us, like Jesus. The profound mystery is not that He can do all that because He knows how our entire realm of existence works, but that He gave it all up (His existence in a higher realm) and actually BECAME HUMAN – just like we are – completely! How on earth did He do that? Again, that’s a mystery to us at this point, but you’ll get to ask Him that question if you repent (turn from your sin) and put your faith in Him today. In fact, someday you’ll get to live with Him – forever – in His realm that we call Heaven.
That, my friends, is the real miracle of Christmas.
Now, I don’t want you to go away and think that this is the actual explanation of how it works. I’ve only taken you through a “Theoretical” tour of higher realms of existence. I’m definitely not saying this is how it happened, only that this is one plausible explanation for how higher realms might exist and how our God, the God of the Bible, might exist in one of those (or many of them) and how He might be characterized to have “passed through” our plane of existence and how He became like one of us. The Bible says He did all those things, I’m just trying to clue you in on how that might have happened. In reality, it’s a mystery that can never be fully explained as long as we have what I always like to call “Meat brains.” We’ll know when we get to Heaven though!