THE DIVINE STRUGGLE FOR “I” AND “THOU” VIII:
The Incarnate God
After hundreds of years of virtual silence, the One-and-Only God, who constituted the ultimate “I,” chose to become humanly incarnate as Jesus Christ.1 In this epic act God implicitly recognized that he had long employed command, possession and power2 and that, in the interest of “free process,” he had permitted created beings to do likewise.
Thus, throughout his life and ministry, Jesus Christ displayed profound love and compassion for all “others.” And finally, at Calvary, he submitted to the consequences of his necessary use of command, possession and power and to the consequences of permitting created beings to use the same. In his death Jesus Christ took the old God, the old humanity, and the old covenant of command, possession and power to irrevocable death. And in his resurrection from the grave on the third day as “the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), he inaugurated the new God, the new humanity, and the new covenant of irrevocable self-giving life and compassionate love.
Servants versus Friends
Shortly before his crucifixion, the One who constituted and repeatedly affirmed the ultimate “I AM” declared:
Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. — John 15:15.
In calling his followers “friends,” Jesus Christ openly initiated the covenantal “I-Thou” relationship. Furthermore, with this utterance he was confident that “others” would reciprocally participate in the ultimate relationality of “I-Thou.”
Let us therefore “[r]ejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)!
- For the factual earthly history of Jesus Christ, see “The Historical Jesus,” Parts I – XVII, Outlook (October 2006 – October 2007). (go back)
- See “The Gospel for the Postmodern World III: The ‘Other Side’ of God,” Outlook (January 2008); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ III: Command,” Outlook (December 2009); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ IV: Possession,” Outlook (January 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VI: Empowerment,” Outlook (March 2010). (go back)
Last Revised September 2011