Sunday, December 24, 2017

Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies

For unto us a Child is born; unto us, a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called: Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Some (including Yale Professor Perry Miller) have insisted that Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was the greatest philosophical reasoner born in North America . He was the first President of Princeton. Tragically he was also one of the first to die of small-pox vaccination. Just as tragically he was the first Pastor to be fired from the church his grandfather founded. Genius doesn’t always find a smooth path .
. My favorite Edwards' quote comes in his sermon on Revelation 5:5-6. While enlarging upon the possibility that a lion could be regarded as a lamb he remarked upon the “admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies “ which we find in Christ Jesus. A lamb may have peculiar qualities (meekness, humility, innocence) . But those qualities are necessarily remote from the qualities of the lion (majesty, courage, tenacity). Not simply different but practically opposite. How can we imagine the combination of such opposites? That’s just it; we can’t IMAGINE . But God has manifested just such a thing.
We see the same unlikely combinations in the Christmas prophecy of Isaiah 9.One who is born is yet eternal. A child is able to hold the government upon his shoulder. A Son is also somehow called Father. Impossible? Of course--- but the thing happened. It happened in the broader context of that other impossibility: God became Man.
There are roughly 30 million gods in the Hindu pantheon.
In Hindu iconography there is an attempt to amalgamate the incompatible. One figure not an elephant has the trunk of an elephant.The image is grotesque. But when we come to know Jesus we behold previously unassimilated attributes in harmony. CS Lewis asked how anyone could entertain “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and “I am meek and humble…” claims from the same person without protest. We would protest unless we witness some unanticipated consistency in the claimant which renders those opposites congruent.
In Jesus the confluence is not grotesque but rather seamless, convincing, satisfying and real.
Beholding the Infant Deity in Bethlehem we note another set of blended opposites. Something new is paired with something original. Did Matthew and Luke connive at the unscrupulously dishonest and the spiritually magnificent in the same fabrication? That would be yet another impossible combination.
The Incarnation is too sublime, too beyond the range of human imagining, to be invented.
By man He is uncontrived. As God He is uncreated.
We celebrate the historical event at Christmas. The Word of the Father is now in flesh appearing.
O come let us adore Him.
For He is the admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies.

--from "Jacob's Limp" blogpost

1 comment:

ROGER said...

Hello Bro. T.

Most "excellent" post to make one ponder and wonder..
I maintain a word document of words which I learn
from others while listen to podcasts or reading blogs..
Ironically, the word I added to it the other day is: "Conflate."
So, I'm sensing a little bit of synchronicity here.. :)

Merry Christmas, my friend,

Brother Thomas ©2015

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