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The Last Word
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2a)
Christianity is a Word-based religion. It owes its genesis to the same Eternal Word who spoke the world into existence and upholds the world by the word of his power. In the fullness of time the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Thus, the incarnation was that miraculous act of divine translation by which God, grace, and glory were rendered intelligibly into the language of men. But there was no degradation of meaning; nothing was lost in translation. To the contrary, the Incarnate Word became the Rosetta Stone for the world; exegeting and expounding the once elusive God. In Jesus, Deus Absconditus became Deus Revelatus—the corporeal Epiphany of the Hidden God.
The advent of Jesus was an apocalypse in the middle of history. The Ancient of Days introduced himself as a carpenter’s son; the sovereign Creator became the “swaddled God.” The remote God stepped suddenly into the world, donned sandals, and left footprints in hot Palestinian sands. The Divine Logos spoke human words to human ears, before human eyes, through human lips. This was the great “mystery of godliness” which opened all the secrets of heaven to us. God was made known to men as the man who was also God. This incarnational revelation brought to light the eternal program of holy reconciliation—the reunification heaven and earth—in the person of the God-Man from Galilee. Eternity took time into its bosom; the celestial laid hold upon the terrestrial and bound it with cords of love; God took humanity into union with his deity so that humanity might enjoy the communion that only such a paradoxical union could bring. In the person of the Divine Word, God unceremoniously entered history in order to speak and to save that which was lost.
The whole of Scripture gives witness to “the God who speaks.” His “Ten Words” in the first chapter of the book of Genesis called forth creation from nothingness and then turned the primordial chaos into cosmos. His “Ten Words” in the twentieth chapter of Exodus established a covenant people and provided for them righteous a rule for life; thus, bringing order to a chaotic world once again. Later, he spoke to his people through prophets and seers, sometimes through wild and woolly ways, but he was always speaking; he was ever a “chatty” God. But even still, those words were always otherworldly, mysterious, foreign. The revelation was never faulty but it was always fragmentary. There was always something left unsaid. It’s as though he never quite finished his sentence. Eventually, he replaced the question mark which lingered in the minds of men with a single exclamation point. He punctuated history with one, all-encompassing Word—Son! When God was pleased to speak to the world fully, when he saw fit to speak to the word finally, he did so in the person of Jesus Christ. Everything Heaven had to say to the world was summed up in Jesus—God’s last word to man.
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