During each Christmas season the Christmas story comes down to each of us answering the question that our Lord Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:15, "Who do you say I am?" You see our faith and future all come down to how we answer that central question. Now if you remember the Apostle Peter's answer in the next verse he said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Peter told our Lord and the world that Jesus was the Christ (Man) and the Son of God (God). The mystery of God becoming Man is the heart of the Christmas Story that the Bible teaches, and is the meaning of life. Unfortunately, most of the world evidently doesn't believe that right now. Vast numbers of people have a variety of ideas about who Jesus is. Seemingly fewer and fewer believe He is God in the flesh. And those numbers will continue to decrease as our Lord's Second Advent draws near. The purpose of this edition of the Carlson Report is to share why I believe that God became Man. My hope is to communicate a common-sense apologetic for Christmas and the Christian Faith in an increasingly confused world.
The central reason I believe God became a Man is that without that fact there is no ultimate and meaningful relationship to God! Without that personal connection to God we are only left with a few pleasures and joys in our relationships with humanity. And yet, the greatest pleasure of life is to enjoy and personally know God. That is the supreme delight of our humanity, namely to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If God is not human, the personal joys of life and our relationships with others can never find home with God Himself. This fact would keep us relationally separated from our Creator, which is the definition of sin itself.
It would never make any sense for the real God to not communicate anything to His Creation about Himself in a personal way. Imagine for a moment, a mother who just delivered a newborn child and never said a word to that child. Instead, the child was left alone to "figure it out" without input from mom. Not only would that mother be cruel and downright evil, but it would make no sense. And so it is with God. The idea that God would never say a thing to His Creation that was clear and personal makes no sense.
Have you ever tried to talk or connect to an invisible energy force out there somewhere in the Universe? That is what many are trying to do today. Many people have postulated that God is some impersonal force that runs things from afar, and we are all somehow connected to that "Force." That might make sense for an entertaining movie series like "Star Wars," but the "Force" can't ever really talk to you about your family problems, the death of a loved one, forgiveness or any other issue of life. We would have absolutely nothing in common with such a god. To only have some vague belief in something or someone somewhere doesn't pay the bills of the human heart.
The only reasonable belief that meets our deepest needs is to have a God that communicates to us as one of us. Sadly, the one thing many in this world do not have is a personal relationship with God that relates to us as a human being. After all, you can't really personally connect, get a hug, share a meal with and/or talk to Yahweh (without the Incarnation), Allah, Brahman, Buddha, the Force or any impersonal god. We can no more connect with an impersonal god than we can with our pets. Can a pet really know the heart of their owner, share their joys, sorrows and deepest issues in a personal way? Pets are hardwired to connect with other pets. That is why pets mate with their own kind, not humans. That is why God became Man. Only the Lord, as one of us, can connect with us to produce a full, meaningful and fruitful personal relationship.
Another problem with an impersonal god, is that such a god never does anything personal for us other than exist. In today's world we are surrounded with people trying to do stuff for us at every moment. The media is dominated with politics and the marketplace vying for our affections, votes and money because they DO things for us. Politicians and marketers battle every day to connect with us through their promises of lower taxes, healthcare, needed products, services and/or benefits. Any politician, business leader, doctor, nurse, plumber, accountant, car maker, teacher, secretary, factory worker, home builder or food producer that doesn't do something for us to help us solve our problems or meet our needs wouldn't last one day. The public would fire them immediately because they serve no useful purpose to our lives and its challenges.
The same holds true for a personal God. IF God can't do something for us by solving any of our problems, then why have that god. Such a weak and absent god would be fired or totally ignored immediately. Having a nameless, impersonal god somewhere in the Universe, that does nothing for us, is no more helpful or meaningful than a politician without promises, a store without merchandise or a doctor without medicine. People want a God that solves problems, acts on their behalf and takes care of life's issues.
If we honestly stop and think about it, our lives are hardwired for Jesus and the Christmas Story of a personal God becoming one of us. God became Man to meet us, communicate with us, love us, die for us, redeem us, know us, give us real joy, lasting pleasure and solve our problems. And all of those problems can easily be traced to sin and death, a reality that led our personal God to doing something about it on the Cross and in the Empty Tomb. God's personal and real relationship with us then is THE simple and compelling story of life. There is no "plan B" or other god or deity out there that can compare to our God becoming Man in the Lord Jesus Christ. If people would use the same common sense they use to find the right pair of shoes, they would run to Jesus as Newborn Savior and fall at His feet. The real God ultimately fits the human heart perfectly, far better than a comfortable pair of shoes.
As Christmas draws near, it is a good time to stop and reflect on what kind of God we really need. If God can't be human to meet us in a personal way, along with having Almighty power to solve our deepest problems and give us the joys of Heaven, then let me suggest that this god is NOT the real God of this world. The Good News is that the God of the Bible took on human flesh and saved the world when Jesus came into our lives personally. When we come to know that Real God as a Man, we come to find our place in the Universe and we find the real joy and wonder of Christmas.