Incarnation, part one

Between now and Christmas I want to share some thoughts on the incarnation using the writings of Richard Rohr as the springboard for those thoughts. I pray they will be good food for thought.

“Incarnation, the synthesis of matter and spirit, should be the primary and compelling message of Christianity. Through the Christ (en Christo), the seeming gap between God and everything else has been overcome “from the beginning” (Ephesians 1:4, 9). Without some form of incarnation, God remains essentially separate from us and from all of creation. Without incarnation, it is not an enchanted universe but somehow an empty one.” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, 12.22.19

One of the historic positions held about the creation is that God created all that is “ex nihilo,” which means out of nothing. This position has a fundamental flaw. If God is omnipresent (everywhere) how can there be someplace where God is not, a nothingness that is other than or beyond God?

It makes more sense to me to understand creation as God transforming a part of God’s own essence into the material realm we know as creation. If God is truly love, a relational concept, then God needed something upon which to pour our God’s love. To satisfy God’s own need to be true to God’s self, the created order was brought into being. Using Fr. Rohr’s words, the created order is the “synthesis of matter and spirit,” the spiritual and physical.  The physical realm is infused with the Spirit of God. Creation is the incarnation of God by its very existence. That is what God has been trying to tell us from day one. We keep wanting to divide them into two separate realms. We can thank the ancient Greeks for that.

Why would we want to do that? Well, for power over and control primarily. If we can place God on a distant throne, far removed from the material world, then we don’t have to contend with God for oversight, control, and the accumulation of resources. It becomes a free for all where to the victor goes the spoils. That’s the history of humanity. It’s the door through which sin enters the story.

On the other hand, if the spiritual and material are one, then God is not out there, in a distant heaven, but here, now, in everything, which makes us subject to the Creator. Creation is the kingdom of God. The problem is that we never got (or rarely took seriously) that memo from God.

Returning to Fr. Rohr, “Without some form (or acknowledgement) of incarnation, God remains essentially separate from us and from all of creation. Without the incarnation, it is not an enchanted universe but somehow an empty one.

Tomorrow, we will begin to explore God’s response to our, shall we say, misunderstanding.

Be a blessing to someone today!

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