The Puzzle of the Incarnation
RAFAEL AND I went back and forth exchanging ideas trying to imagine how the Lord might make his entrance into the world of men. With our affections ignited and our hearts inspired, our minds frolicked in the play ground of miraculous possibilities.
Then, like an archeologist on the brink of a rare discovery, Rafael said, “Let’s rethink what, so far, has come to light. The Lord clearly stated he will assume the form of a human body.”
“A truth of which there’s no doubt in my mind,” I affirmed.
“In my mind too. But what I can’t put together is this,” Rafael questioned. “How can Lord Kedem become human and still remain God? That just doesn’t seem possible. Humans were formed from ordinary earth dirt. How could it be possible that the divine, eternal King of Heaven could clothe himself in perishable earth dust?”
“Confusing…isn’t it?” I replied. “I agree it’s most puzzling. But the Lord assured me that though he was to be completely human he would also remain entirely divine.”
“So are you saying he is to have two natures in one person?”
“That’s what he told me.” Then raising a brow I said, “But do you want to know what really mystifies me Rafael?”
“What might that be?”
“It’s how he’s going to do it. That’s the one thing that baffles me. I’ve must of thought of a hundred different ways that he could make his appearance on earth?”
“Like how?” Rafael wondered.
“Well, maybe,” I said, “the Father will somehow cause him to arise from the dust of the earth in the same way Adam was brought into the world?”
“But El Kedem cannot be created!” Rafael sharply countered. “He’s eternal. He can’t come in that way.”
After taking a breath, Rafael calmed himself and suggested, “Maybe…he’ll just arrive…appear…out of nowhere. Yes, that’s it! He will come in the same way the legendary priest-king Melchizedek came…he just…well…appeared! ”
I ran my fingers across my mouth reflecting on Rafael’s idea.
“Possible but not likely,” I said. “The Hebrew scriptures say Melchizedek had no father or mother. And we know the Lord will have earthly parents, remember? ”
“Hmm? You did mention that,” Rafael replied in a surrendering tone. “Mary and Joseph, the couple from Nazareth. I guess that does create a bit of a problem for the Melchizedek theory. But the whole thing seems so…wrong.”
“What is it that troubles you?” I asked.
“Well…it’s hard to imagine Lord Kedem choosing a poor family from such a despicable town. I mean no disrespect, but the village of Nazareth wouldn’t be my first choice as a homestead for the Heavenly King…do you know what I mean?”
Trying to hide a grin I said, “You think that’s surprising. What’s even more astonishing is he’s not coming as their kinsmen, but as their son.”
“Their son!” Rafael fired back. “Do the ancient prophecies tell of such a thing?”
“I believe so but it’s not completely clear,” I answered. “However, I’ve been thinking about what you said when you spoke of the Holy Spirit. I wonder what role he plays in the mystery of the incarnation?”
I could see the wheels starting to turn in Rafael’s head. Then, wasting no time he put together another idea.
“Okay, the Melchizedek theory is out. Maybe something more supernatural? What do you think of this idea? Now just suppose the Lord comes in some mystical way to Joseph and Mary. Let’s say…with the aid of the Holy Spirit the Lord miraculously appears to them in the form of a dove?”
“Hmm,” I thought. “Not altogether impossible. Go on, brother, go on.”
“Well, what if…sometime soon after Mary and Joseph are married, the Holy Spirit descends as a dove and then appears as a human being in the person of El Kedem. The voice of the Father could speak to them, affirming he is the Messiah, the Holy Son of God. And when they see him transform from a dove into a man, they’ll be convinced a miracle has happened and welcome him into their family…as their son.”
I closed my eyes not because I was trying to imagine Rafael’s idea but because I hesitated to tell him what else I knew about the incarnation.
“Well? What do you think?” he said, searching my eyes closely for an answer.
I struggled to find the right words. It seemed like blasphemy to say what I was thinking, not to mention embarrassing.
“Look Rafael. This won’t be easy for you to hear. It stung when I first heard what I’m about to tell you. But you must promise me that you won’t get your feathers all in a ruffle.”
“I promise. Now what is it?” he entreated.
“Lord Kedem said that he was to enter Mary and Joseph’s lives as their son before they get married.”
Rafael’s eyes widened. “What! Are you sure? This will make for a terrible scandal!”
I hung my head. “It sure seems that way.”
Stumped by the puzzle of the incarnation my brother remarked, “There must be something we’ve overlooked? Maybe we should again search the Hebrew Scriptures more carefully?”
No sooner had he spoken these words, that my face was alight with the zeal of an adventurer. My emerald eyes gleamed with delight as I said with near fanaticism, “I have a better idea!”
The confusion left Rafael’s inquisitive face. “I know what you’re thinking,” he replied as a mischievous smile stretched from ear to ear.
Together we shouted, “The Time-Gate!”
Our quest for an answer was just beginning.