I’m participating in an Advent series with other bloggers organized by Brother Maynard, another CCBlogger. About twenty of us will be posting reflections throughout Advent using texts from John and the Old Testament chosen by Brother Maynard who just wrote a book on the same topic.
Last year, one of my seminary friends unwittingly became the center of the most ancient of theological debates. As he came before the committee that was to approve his next move towards ordination, a heated discussion broke out among the committee members as to whether Jesus existed before he become incarnate.
To be fair, I think the discussion centered more around what form Jesus took before incarnation, rather than whether or not he existed at all, but it all took my friend a bit off guard as these meetings generally get bogged down in where one stands on homosexuality, the authority of the Bible, or questions of the lordship of Christ and the like.
Regardless of what Jesus looked like before the incarnation, or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the Bible tells us of God who from the very beginning created.
So we come to the first few verses of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
And to Proverbs 8:22 on wisdom “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.”
The opening verses of John clearly enough describe Jesus (or the Word at least, “logos” in Greek) as existing “from the beginning.” Way over-simplification of hundreds of years of church history: this is one reason why we have Nicene Creed which makes it clear Jesus is co-eternal with the Father and begotten not made from God.
One could go any number of ways from here, but as this is the first week of Advent and the theme of hope, perhaps I’ll borrow from Shirely Guthrie. In his book, Christian Doctrine, Guthrie writes, “The Bible says not only that God was but that God is and will be Creator.” The Triune God’s act of creating is not confined to distant lands of the past, but God still creates anew.
Still today, God is making all things new (Rev 21). Still today, God is making us to be new creatures in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). Still today, we hope for God’s new creation, and the time when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and all manner of things shall be well (Is 6).
So, this Advent, we can look for ways God is continuing God’s creative acts. We can remember that God creates within and without the Church. With the Spirit’s guidance, we can seek to encourage, uphold, even help begin God’s acts of new creation.
Here are the other Johannine Advent bloggers: