I am finally getting around to reading A More Christlike Way. I’m curious about what you wrote on page 64, “We might go further to describe love as God’s heart and ours working as one because in Christ, God and humanity are united forever.”
When you say, “in Christ, God and humanity are united forever,” can we assume that includes everyone who lived before Jesus? And if so, was it true for them during their lifetime or is it only true retroactively? Maybe the root of this question is this: theologically speaking, do you think there has ever been any separation or “un-united-ness” between God and humanity—in light of the eternal nature of Christ?
Such a good and important question!
In light of the eternal nature of Christ, in light of Christ’s ontological union with humanity (i.e. the truth of our being), separation has probably always been a delusion (even after the first stumble in Eden). But living in the delusion of separation has always created a very real existential experience of alienation in the way of our being.
In other words, God has never once separated himself from humankind. Indeed, God has forever been in pursuit of his children. But we do frequently alienate ourselves from God, shutting out his love or blinding ourselves to it … in the same way that at midday, the sun does not cease to shine but we might put on a blindfold, thinking that we’ve blotted it out.
When we think of it this way, we see how Christ did not need to become Incarnate to turn the sun of God’s love back on … he came, instead, to remove the blindfold from our hearts (as per 2 Cor. 4) and turn our hearts back to God.
Even though in our reckoning of time, there is a before and after the Cross in history, from eternity’s perspective, the Cross is the axis around which all history revolves … there is no before or after “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” But to be clear, for this to be true in eternity, it did also need to occur in time… and so it did. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” is never truer than on the Cross, when the all-inclusive love of our Abbawas revealed in the Father’s Cruciform Son.