Perspectives; or, God - In and Out of the box

I came across an old blog (from another site) yesterday. I'd forgotten I'd written it, but it truly intrigued me and made me think again. So I decided to post it here as well. And although it's not Christmas, it's still interesting. (I wrote it less than a week before Christmas in 2007).

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Last night I had a rough night of sleep. I woke up around 5 am after having nightmares. I was praying to try to calm my mind and spirit, and started thinking about God-stuff. I started out thinking of the Nativity, since we're so close to Christmas. Here's sort of how my thought process went. (Sorry if it seems sloppy, my mind goes all over the place.)

Everyone thinks of the birth of Christ as leading up to the Greatest Sacrifice - His death for our salvation. But I think I have to disagree with this viewpoint. There was a greater sacrifice that came first, that we think about and talk about all the time, and yet we overlook. The Baby Jesus. People sometimes use the phrase "you can't put God in a box." Well, in a way that's true. We can't (shouldn't) limit God by placing our own parameters around Him. But that's because He did it already Himself. He placed Himself in the box of human flesh. God is this infinite, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present God, outside Time and Space and History and Future. And yet, He chose to limit Himself. For our sake. The Son part of the Trinity pretty much gave up his essential God-ness in order to place Himself in our shoes. It's sort of like an author and her characters. The author has the omnipotent, omnipresent viewpoint: The story, all of it - beginning, middle, end - happens, is happening, is always happening, in her mind. She knows, sees, the characters at every stage of development, and at any moment, she can see the character at any or all of the stages. She knows who's good, who's bad, who's right, who's wrong. She knows, sees, the outcome of each plot, each subplot. But the characters don't. They think, feel, live, from the moment, from their limited viewpoint.

Essentially, God became a character in His own story. He took Himself out of His infinite God-ness and placed Himself in a finite, frail, human body. A body that pees and poops and drools and aches and hurts and cries and feels pain. And He placed Himself into a soul that feels emotion, triumph, joy, sadness, tenderness, anger, love. And that rages with itself against itself. He became human. For us. He felt everything that humans feel. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Think about that for a minute. People throw around the phrase, "Jesus went through all the same temptations you and I go through." But what are the implications of that? Do we really think about it, let it sink in? Or do we just brush it aside as something we've known already? If Jesus went through all the same trials we do -- How many little temptations do we face each day without even realizing they're there? How many times, when Jesus was trying to be God to a prostitute, did his humanness try to take over? How many times did He really just want to smack one of His disciples up side the head, and think, "Why, oh why must I be God right now?" How many times did He want to throw a fit growing up, or talk back to His mother, or hit one of His brothers? How often was He tempted to steal? Did He ever envy the kings and emporers of His day, knowing that while He was greater than they, He was required to suffer as a human?

I sort of just let my thoughts wander on this topic. It's amazing, really, to think about what all "humanness" meant to Jesus. God basically caged himself for 33 years. He felt time. How often did his soul ache from not being able to be fully himself? I know a little of that feeling when I can't get to my writing for a long time, because writing is such an expression of who I am, that to be unable to express myself makes me feel less myself. Does this make sense? And yes, God is "outside" of time, but He willingly placed Himself in Time, so that He could better understand us.

I was talking to my husband about all this tonight, and he brought up an interesting point. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, it wasn't just about disobedience. It was about them having something that belonged to God. What did they eat? Fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Perspective. They attained viewpoint. They saw a little more like God saw. And so, to fix the breach, God had to see a little more like we see.