August 17, 2010

To Live is Christ — knowing who God is

Aristotle, a philosopher who lived BC 384-322, taught that happiness is the goal of life, but pleasure, fame, and wealth would not bring one the highest happiness. Instead, it could be achieved only by a “contemplative and monastic way of life.”

Aristotle also thought that some people were suited to be nothing more than slaves, and “barbarians were naturally inferior.” He also said that the universe was stationary and did not evolve or change. God just created it, but the characteristics of love and mercy do not have their origins in God. His idea of God was that He is only “the divine unmovable mover who does nothing but contemplate Himself.” Interesting perspective considering his view that contemplation was the only way to be happy.

Too bad that Aristotle missed the phenomena of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Had he looked in the Old Testament, he might have seen glimpses. He certainly would have learned that God is far more than Creator. He may also have realized that lasting joy comes through faith and that God is loving and merciful, the source of all virtue. Had this man been born a few hundred years later, he may have witnessed the clearest revelation of Himself that God has given.

(Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. (Colossians 1:15–20)
To me, these are incredible and precious words. Perhaps I feel that way because I have faith in Jesus. I know who He is. I know what He has done. When God spoke the universe into existence, the Word He spoke was this Jesus, the Word who became flesh. This man, this more than a man, walked this earth, ate bread, drank wine, smiled at children, denounced hypocrisy, loved sinners, hated sin, cherished His Father’s house, wept at the death of His friends, slept in a boat in a storm, and chided His disciples for their ambitious arguing.

Paul wrote a few words that bless my heart. I try to write about Jesus in a few words and feel totally inadequate to describe this Living image of the invisible God in whom all the fullness dwells. I understand full well why John wrote: 

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)
Aristotle missed it. God is so much more than that man’s mind, or anyone’s mind, can grasp. We needed a living, breathing revelation — and because He loves us, God gave us what we needed, Christ Jesus, His own self in human flesh.

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