While discussing the Bible with some university students I was asked, “how Jesus was born if He was God, God’s aren’t born?” I quickly went through some Biblical concepts about how Jesus has always been in existence in the Godhead, only that in the Old Testament He was present in the form of The Word of God. (See John 1:1-5,14). I explained how at a particular moment in time, probably at the time of Mary consenting to give birth to the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38), Jesus was begotten by God – the Holy Spirit (Ps 2:7; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; Matt 1:20) and conceived in Mary. That Jesus, though a part of the Godhead, emptied Himself of His Divine (power) attributes and came to earth to help mankind come into a relationship with God (Phil 2:5-11). This was because we as humans could not have a relationship with God on our own. We need the strength and help of God so that we can walk with God. Jesus came not just to show us the way but to be the way to a relationship with God.
Interestingly there have been many teachers and spiritual leaders over the ages. None of the leaders of other major religions claimed to be both the way and the truth. Mohamed did not claim to transform people, rather he pointed to the Quran for truth. Similarly Buddha never pointed to himself as the source of freedom from men’s struggles but rather pointed to the principles of the Noble Truths. Jesus not only said that His teachings were the truth but that He actually was the way, the truth and the source of life. (John 14:6)
The students seemed to appreciate the answer that I gave, but in reflecting back I realized that perhaps they were asking a deeper question. I answered assuming that they believed in God. By definition a God would be One Who is able to do whatever He wanted and so it would not be difficult for God to show Himself as a human, nor would it be difficult for God to do the miraculous, such as enabling a virgin to conceive without being impregnated. But what if these students did not believe that there was a God, then what would I say? If there is no God then the Christmas story is nothing different than the story of Santa Clause – nice thought but nothing behind it.
What would you say to some university students if they said they didn’t believe in a God? Think about this and I’ll share some thoughts about this in my next posting.