Today’s guest post comes from Chad Brown, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science.
Jesus’ favorite self designation is of course “Son of Man”, however in the Gospel of John Jesus expands his poetic self descriptions. He says; “I am the Bread of Life”, “I am the Good Shepherd”, and “I am the True Vine”. To me these all appear to be annoying and tiresome to the religious elite of his day, however the real kiss of death came when Jesus states that “Before Abraham was born, I Am” (John 8:58 NIV). This was pure blasphemy, only God, Yahweh, calls himself “I AM” (Exodus 3:14). The consequence for this statement is death, which of course is eventually executed by Roman crucifixion on the cross.
What strikes me is the confidence Christ has in his identity, seemingly as the second person of the trinity, through whom all things were made (John 1:3), and also as the human son who is in the Father, as the Father is in the Son (John 14:19). Time and power have no boundary, and the substances of God and Christ are interconnected. Jesus identity, and subsequently his faith, seems to be in his knowing who he is, where he came from, what he’s made of, and where he’s going. Essentially a Confidence of Identity.
This is a teachable moment for me as I look deeper into who I am across time and boundary. I realize that I am from God, and that like Jesus I am in God, and God is in me. It’s easier to see that the finite me is contained within the infinite God, but more difficult to realize that the infinite God, and all of God’s potentiality, is within the finite me. Luther says “Finitum Capax Infiniti” or the finite is capable of the infinite. Here the finite thing will not explode into an infinite reality; rather the finite thing has the “essence” of the infinite thing within it that can reveal or communicate the infinite through the finite. More personally I can reveal or communicate God through me.
Consider then the Creator, 13.8 billion years ago exploding from within all the matter of the universe. Through time and space this star dust becomes the foundation of all life, interconnected and interdependent. Life has an origin, an evolutionary process, with a teleological purpose, which I believe is life itself. So in the beginning God created and breathed Ruach, the breath of life, into this beautifully designed creation, containing and revealing God’s infinite self. Although I am just a speck on this spectrum, I am left in awe and wonder considering the awesomeness of the Creator, and the intimacy within its creation. This is the narrative of God’s story, where I too am part and product of this process, this plan. I am part of all interconnectedness and the thrust of creation, moving forward and becoming. Most importantly, I know who I am, a child of this Creator, and that I abide in Christ, as he abides in me (John 15:4).
So I pray: Finitum Capax Infiniti; O God that you would be revealed through me. Let this be who I am.