God In The Flesh

Why does it matter that God came down to earth in the form of Man? That event, after all, is what Christmas celebrates. But why the big deal? Was it really necessary? I mean, couldn’t God forgive sins without coming to earth in bodily form?

These kinds of questions are a little mind-boggling because we are presuming to know why God did what He did. But here are a few things that Scripture tells us.

First, Jesus made it clear that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father. In other words, by coming to earth, Jesus answered, for all time, the question of whether or not God existed. Not that people were atheists all those years ago. They weren’t. But God knew what the mind of twenty-first century humans would be dealing with, so He answered the question before anyone posited it.

Jesus also came in the flesh to teach. That’s what He told His disciples. Yes, He healed the sick, but they would get sick another day. Yes, He fed the hungry, but their hunger would return. Yes, He raised more than one dead person, but alas, they would face death again some day. While Jesus used His time on earth to do these other awesome things, He plainly told those who hung with Him that His mission was to preach.

He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.” (Mark 1:38)

What exactly did He preach? I think it can be summed up in His answer to the question, What is the greatest command? Love God, He said. And the next command is like it: love your neighbor.

Jesus used a lot of stories to illustrate what He was saying—a landowner and his servants, a woman and a lost coin, a father and his two sons, a man left for dead by a bunch of robbers, an unjust judge, and on and on. Each of these in some way were illustrations of His two-pronged message. What did it look like to love God, or the opposite? What did it look like to love your neighbor, or not?

But Jesus didn’t merely teach. He also lived a pure and holy and sinless life. He did what no man had done before. He resisted temptation. He said no to Satan, to the world system, to desires of the flesh that would take Him into sin. His greatest temptation, of course, was to use His power to save Himself at the cross instead of saving sinners. But this too He resisted.

And of course that’s the ultimate reason Jesus came in the form of Man. He came to save the lost. He came to be the offering that would bring an end to the need for offerings. He came to condemn sin and to be the means by which we can sit at the heavenly banqueting table.

I can imagine Jesus as the honored guest and those of us who follow Him arriving for the great party. Do you have an invitation? we’ll be asked. Don’t need one. Jesus invited me personally. I’m with Him.

In short, Jesus came to be the mediator which makes friendship with God possible. Without Jesus, what are we left with? Idols. Atheism. Humanism. Nothing of substance. Nothing eternal. But because Jesus came we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life.

Published in: on November 30, 2017 at 5:52 pm  Comments (14)  
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14 Comments

  1. Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your claim Becky, “But God knew what the mind of twenty-first century humans would be dealing with, so He answered the question before anyone posited it.”

    He did? Forgive me for being so sceptical but I do not believe that.

    The Christian God with such an almighty power who rules the universe had to sacrifice a human in a small insignificant place on Earth populated by a few thousand people, and it turned out to be part of himself anyway. This so-called son came back to life anyway, so it was a con job in modern terms. Forget the promise of eternal life, this also is a hollow promise when you consider it cannot be verified and all the religions promise similar things.

    Your imaginative mind “I can imagine Jesus as the honored guest and those of us who follow Him arriving for the great party. Do you have an invitation? we’ll be asked. Don’t need one. Jesus invited me personally. I’m with Him.”

    Great Party, do they serve beer? Becky, you do have a vivid imagination. Please extract yourself from this delusion and take some time to read this and understand where your God really does exist, it is the same site I sent to Wally.

    https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/the-brain-on-god

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    • Steve, I’m not sure what you think the article you linked to proves. So there’s activity in the brain when someone reports a religious experience. Sure, OK. Mormons, I’ll mention, are not Christians and the interviewer even said, ” I believe that feelings associated with patriotism and nationalism will show tremendous similarity in brain responses to ecstatic religious experience.” So what they’re measuring is a response, not the reality of the experience itself.. I don’t think any Christian will deny that at times we do have emotional responses to what God is doing in our lives or simply to God Himself. Are you suggesting that atheists have NO emotion, though the researcher himself expects to find the same kind of brain activity caused by other stimuli?

      I think you’re trying to prove something here, Steve, that simply isn’t present.

      The first half of your comment is simply a list of your opinions. You forget, or do not realize, that what I’m saying is grounded in the authority of Scripture. You have no grounding. You don’t know what happens after death because you have no source upon which to rely. We believers know because God in His revelation told us.

      Which is the most reasonable to believe—omniscient God who exists outside time and space and chose to give us a glimpse of Himself and His plans, or finite men who have no way of knowing anything about the future apart from revelation? You judge, Steve. You do anyway, but I’ll say, I feel very sorry for people who limit their knowledge to just what they themselves can know.

      Of course, few do this. Most also trust “experts” who tell them what to think, who produce science and then interpret it. I’m still waiting for one atheist to tell me he has himself done studies of space that lead him to believe in a big bang, or who has done any geological research that lead him to believe evolution. No. It’s always, this scientist said, or that atheist advocate concluded . . . And then Christians are put down for being taught theology. Well, sorry. We are no different than atheists. We just believe in different things and trust different sources.

      What you miss, Steve, is that Christians don’t reject science. We aren’t opposed to science. We believe instead that the findings of science reveal more about our God who made this natural world. In contrast, atheists shut themselves off from anything having to do with the supernatural. You don’t know because you’ve already determined in your own mind what’s true and what’s not. Which is why I feel sad for you and other atheists. You think you know, but you don’t. My heart’s desire is that you’ll come to know the truth.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky, the point I am trying to make is that it has been established what happens in the brain during any emotional episodes including the religious and spiritual experiences that we humans have.

        You said “So what they’re measuring is a response, not the reality of the experience itself..”

        The response is generated and the experience is measured within the brain, the brain generates your religious experience because your brain responds to what you want and when you want something it is the cerebrum that is the biggest outer part of the brain and the thinking part of the brain. The cerebrum, controls reading, thinking, learning, speech, emotions and planned muscle movements like walking. It also controls vision, hearing and other senses.

        It is true they say what you reiterated about the feelings associated with patriotism and nationalism and how they show tremendous similarity in brain responses. This just shows that nothing is exclusive about religious beliefs, it does not respond to external spiritual entities, it is clear that it is all happening within your own brain.

        Knowing what we do in today’s world, it is nothing but a far-fetched belief when you literally believe the scriptures, especially about an omniscient God and an afterlife.

        Most, if not all neuroscientists would be atheists or agnostics and yes, I do expect these people to do their job to a high standard and I trust them to be peer reviewed and their work held up to the highest scientific analysis. I have gone into much that is written about Biological evolution and more lately neuroscience. I am quite sure many if not most of those scientists would be atheist only because they are involved with the foundations of all life on planet Earth.

        You appear to be untrusting of science even if you do not totally reject it. I think you are happy to accept the science that involves technology and most medical procedures, however once the science spills into the areas of religious beliefs it is a different story.

        You commented “Christians are put down for being taught theology.”

        I agree, when the cards are laid down and particularly children are taught God created everything and evolution is a lie, it is of great concern, especially since progress in the many scientific fields is vital for human survival.

        You say, “My heart’s desire is that you’ll come to know the truth.”

        Becky, you do have a benevolent attitude to life and I do not put this down to conforming with a religious scripture as much as this is mostly the natural you. It is true that religious spiritual beliefs and practices often reduce depression, stress and anxiety and provide people with a sense of meaning and purpose, therefore I am glad religion has some positive effects for certain people.

        I implore you however, to take a fresh look at the whole religious concept from the beginning of humanity. The old gods some as far back as 15 centuries Before Christ that have lasted to today and much longer than Christianity that you dismiss as fake were as relevant and fiercely defended by the people of those times as you defend yours today. Also take time to understand how science is strongly weighted towards evidence rather than biased attitudes or lies as claimed by some theists.

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        • Steve

          I know I said I was done with you, but you are still citing those links to prove your claim. Is it your goal to post that link on every Christian blog in the universe or what? Steve, either you don’t really understand the science you are so fond of, or you are intentionally shading what you read.I also find it ironic that you accuse Becky and others of discounting science when she obviously has a clearer understanding of how to process scientific information that you do, as she also quickly picked up on the error of your claim in relation to that study.

          Your claim is: religious experiences originate in the brain

          You then cite that study to back up your claim.

          Again, the problem is…the study never claims that . Again, it simply reports what a brain, stimulated by religious input, does. Again, it is the EXPERIENCE causing the reaction in the brain, not the brain causing the experience. Your assertion that this study backs up your claim is patently, demonstrably false.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh come on Wally, The study clearly shows the activity is in the brain. This activity is the same for many things and God belief is not exclusive and it is not true that neuroscientists are absolutely amazed because they cannot understand or explain the spiritual force that drives the brain to believe in God.

            I know that is what you would like to believe but the truth is the truth and facts are facts and nothing you say can change that. Take a look at what you are thinking. Do you dislike me because I am trying to destroy your walls, and do you believe I am a messenger from Satan?

            You would be wrong on both accounts, but I do have an honest and simple quest to try and save you from yourself.

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          • I don’t dislike Steve. Actually I have become oddly fond of you in three years. Disagree and dislike are not the same lol.

            And thanks for your concern lol

            Liked by 1 person

          • Funnily enough Wally I believe I have an odd fondness for you even though I think you are often on a different planet, and I believe I know you quite well now. LOL.

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          • Yep. See we can find at least one small agreement

            Liked by 1 person

        • Steve, a couple things are clear here: first, you are reading this article as you want it to read, not as it actually does read. You state clearly in your first paragraph that the studies show what happens to the brain during a religious experience (or, as the study went on to say, something like patriotism). You stated it as “what happens in the brain during any emotional episodes.” Yes, that’s what the studies indicate. There’s activity in the brain during a religious experience.

          Religious experience yields response in the brain.

          But then you leap frog the actual finding above to reach this statement: “the brain generates your religious experience.” Steve, the article never says that. Apparently that’s what you want to believe, but there simply is no way of reaching that conclusion from these studies. You have twisted the facts to say what you want them to say, what apparently someone has told you they say, because any careful read of the article does not lead to that conclusion.

          I might also add, Steve, if you’re interested in neuroscience, you might want to do a refresher on the anatomy of the brain. The cerebellum, does not do all the things you described. It is responsible for balance and coordination but vision and language and the other things you mentioned are not located in the cerebellum.

          You may have forgotten that I had a stroke in April and the hospital provided information about “brain attacks.” There are charts and diagrams showing what brain functions occur in what parts of the brain, but you can find the same sort of thing on line. Here’s a link to one of many sites that provide this information – https://askabiologist.asu.edu/brain-regions

          I’ll say again, Steve, there is rarely any kind of animosity from Christians toward science. No one I know says to ignore science. Rather, like anything else, including the sermons I listen to, the pastors are telling us to be discerning, to check everything. One of the pastors has a favorite phrase: You’re sensible people, he’ll say, read this for yourself and think it out.

          I guess that’s why I’m so surprised, Steve, that you are so opposed to Christianity but have not actually read the Bible. You really don’t know or understand what you are opposed to.

          Apparently it’s enough, in your mind, that Christians believe in God, but even your statements about Him show you don’ even have the beginning understandings of Him.

          You generally refer to God as if He exists inside time and space. So you refer to other gods before Christianity came about. But you don’t get that the God we Christians worship is before all time, and therefore before all gods which sprang up within creation.

          So while you are telling me to take time to understand science, Steve, I’ll respond by saying I have no problem with science. I do have a problem with the conclusions some arrive at because of their world view, not because of the science. Sort of like you did with this article.

          Becky

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks Becky and I apologise for getting the wrong brain parts. I was wrong noticing it after being posted but this is no excuse for not using my own brain.

            I do remember you had a stroke and I do understand how serious they are, and I do hope you have recovered well. My wife had a grade 4 brain aneurism about 8 years ago and during the time in hospital she had a massive stroke that left her in a conscious but a vegetable state unable to do anything apart from limited movement of one arm.
            Unfortunately, she eventually developed lung problems for being incapacitated in bed for so long and I Had to make the horrible decision to let the doctor pump her full of morphine and let her die one year later. She was a beautiful Catholic girl.

            You say, “there is rarely any kind of animosity from Christians toward science.”

            Even though it was Roger Bacon who was an English Franciscan monk often credited with formalizing the scientific method, traditionally, all religions have rejected certain scientific discoveries such as evolution, the age of the Earth and aspects of events over the last few thousand years not to mention climate change and the international Human Genome Project.

            I understand different faiths such as Catholics do embrace biological evolution to some degree and probably most Christians believe the earth to be older than a few thousand years, however the science is only accepted or rejected on the doctrine of the particular denomination.

            A pastors favourite phrase: “You’re sensible people, he’ll say, read this for yourself and see what it says.”

            A good idea but it does not work, some sensible people believe the Earth is flat or that men never landed on the moon, and all the reading in the world will not install any logic regardless of evidence This issue is also addressed by neuroscience.

            You say “I’m so surprised, Steve, that you are so opposed to Christianity but have not actually read the Bible. You really don’t know or understand what you are opposed to.”

            I understand enough Becky to know what I like and do not like, I am not a young man and have been living amongst Christians most of my life, I have attended meetings at many churches my stepmother was a Christian missionary in Africa, my wife was Catholic, and every passage of the Bible is at my fingertips due to modern science and technology. I have a good grasp of science for a lay person and not being a mechanic, I am quite apt at repairing mechanical things and I did not read the manuals associated with being a mechanic or scientific professional because the information I may need is at my fingertips yet again.

            Your statement “You generally refer to God as if He exists inside time and space. So you refer to other gods before Christianity came about. But you don’t get that the God we Christians worship is before all time, and therefore before all gods which sprang up within creation.”

            I do understand these idealistic beliefs, however neurotheology, also known as spiritual neuroscience is an emerging field of study that seeks to understand the relationship between the brain science and religion. Neurotheology applies science and the scientific method to spirituality through brain imaging studies and these studies do not have results that favour one religion over any other or the Christian God being the creator of all other gods.

            Dr Andrew Newberg (theist)”For those individuals who want to go down the path of arguing that all of our religious and spiritual experiences are nothing more than biological phenomena, some of this data does support that kind of a conclusion,” Newberg says. “But the data also does not specifically eliminate the notion that there is a religious or spiritual or divine presence in the world.”

            Because of that, Newberg says “the success of neurotheology hinges on open-mindedness.”

            Professor Jordan Grafman “Of course, it’s a two-way relationship between the brain and religion. Our brains had to develop the capacity to establish social communities and behaviours, which are the basis of religious societies. But religious practice in turn developed the brain. As these societies became more co-operative, our brains evolved in response to that. Our brain led to behaviour and then the behaviour fed back to our brain to help sculpt it,”

            Professor Grafman has more to say here.

            https://qz.com/852450/the-neuroscience-argument-that-religion-shaped-the-very-structure-of-our-brains/

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          • Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. You must miss here a great deal.

            Regarding my statement about Christians and science, you said “A good idea but it does not work, some sensible people believe the Earth is flat or that men never landed on the moon.” I’m sorry, but I disagree. Those are not sensible people and they are not thinking things out. They are suspicious and unwilling to do any true investigation.

            That’s what I fear for you, Steve—that you aren’t willing to do any true investigation. You may have been around Christians, you may have access to the Bible, but have you ever read even one account of Jesus’s life? How do you know He wasn’t who He claimed to be if you haven’t read what He did and said? In other words, why, as a good student looking for the truth, are you willing to settle for secondary sources instead of the primary one?

            Which brings me to you info on brains. I have wondered why you mention on more than one occasion, religious experience and what part of the brain records such. I realize that we are looking at Christianity in two completely different ways.

            Yes, we Christians can enjoy religious experiences, but that is sort of immaterial. What matters is whether or not what we believe is true. I mean, if were in this for the sake of some kind of religious experience, it just plain isn’t worth it most of the time. Christians believe in sacrifice and suffering and turning the other cheek—that sort of thing that isn’t particularly popular.

            No, a “feeling” simply isn’t enough to command the loyalty of the people who died because of their faith. Rather, we are aiming for the truth. Since I’ve read the articles you linked to and listened to the video, how about this time I give you one. This is John Lennox – https://youtu.be/-tQXVGEeVhw

            Hope this helps you understand Christians a little better.

            Becky

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  3. Halfway through I was ready to argue, when you said that Jesus came to teach. But, to my relief, you concluded that Jesus came to save the lost through his sinless life and his sacrificial death. He came to defeat sin and evil and death and to share his victory. His teaching is part of that sharing and forgiving, but without the cross it would just be a list of rules that none of us can obey. Good post! J.

    Liked by 2 people

    • True, Salvageable. The teaching Jesus shared was what the people needed to correctly understand what His death and resurrection meant. If they didn’t know they were sinners. then who needs a Savior? If they don’t understand God’s compassion for the lost, who cares if He sent His Son? And on and on. I think we sometimes overlook what Jesus taught. His miracles and healings are so much more dramatic, but clearly He put a lot of stock into what He was teaching!

      Becky

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