What T F Torrance has done up to now in his book, Space Time and the Resurrection is to carefully map out the significance of the union of God with humanity in the very Person and work of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ we have the completed work of God towards humanity as well as the completed work and response of humanity towards God. It is without question who Jesus Christ is before the Father. He is one with the Being of God. Thus we have in the ascension the reality of who Jesus Christ is as God from God, Light from true Light of the same being with the Father. The question arises however as to the true nature of the Incarnation. Did God leave His throne room in eternity and plunge Himself into our space and time but continued to be the Lord of the universe as a babe suckling on the breast of the Virgin Mary? Was the whole of the universe contingent on this very infant?
There are two cosmologies at play here. One is grounded on human centred logic which tries to logically deduce how the space, time and matter are related and how or whether or not God interacts in the world. This worldview finds the Incarnation and the miracles rather problematic. The other is grounded in Jesus Christ who is God as the Man Jesus Christ who entered into time and space making His actions and words as a happening event in human history. While entering into time and space, He remained the One who transcends time and space as the eternal Word from beside the Father.
There is a tension between how humanity perceive the created realities of the earth and the heavens, what are observable, and what is beyond this into the place where Jesus has risen into, what I call the eternal place. There is the tendency to try and work out what is fathomable to human beings as the ground for what is possible and not possible for God. If humanity is the measure for what God can and cannot do, then this is where we can run into problems similar to that which has plagued Christianity for the last fifteen hundred years. When humanity is locked into this way of thinking, then they are less likely to recognise something that lies outside of their framework of thought, especially if it is something that brings their whole way of thinking into question.
What happens at the Incarnation is God meets humanity in humanity’s neighbourhood where God shows up in humanity’s space and time. At the Ascension, we have humanity meeting God in God’s place where there is an interaction with humanity and God in space and time. Thus space and time is brought into the very presence of God in Jesus Christ. The work of God in Jesus Christ continues in our space and time via the Spirit. We have God who has real presence to us as we live our lives in the realm of time and space where in Him we have room to live, move and have our being. Obversely, if we start to think in abstract terms such as God is outside time, then we have to reconsider the whole question of who Jesus Christ was in our human history. Did God really interact with us in our time and space in this one Human Being? Instead of drawing out the implications of union that we have discussed at length in the previous 17 posts, we have to redefine who Jesus Christ and side with Arius where we try at length to bring mythology and theology in the Christian message.
Humanity has the tendency to believe they have what it takes to work out the possibility of the existence of God based on the knowledge they have so far. Some may conclude God does exist but have their own idea of how God exists according to their own framework of knowledge. The best of human knowledge is always questionable. However, if this knowledge comes to them from outside of their framework where even some have said this knowledge comes from a higher order or power, then it is up to the person to assent to this knowledge and let it be the framework from which new ideas are formulated. This is precisely what happened in the New Testament. God appeared as the Man Jesus Christ, spoke and taught on behalf of Himself providing overwhelming evidence of everything He claimed to be. God came in Person and taught the things of God, the very things of Himself. This challenged all previously held ideas regarding who God is and what He can or should be doing. Jesus Christ is the intersection where the knowledge of the truth of God and the desire for humanity to know the truth meet. Yet, humanity has to assent to this new knowledge, to this truth of all truths. Assenting to Jesus Christ as the truth of all truths requires that one’s whole understanding of cosmology must change. If God has come as this Man Jesus Christ and acted as only God acts in Himself, then then has enormous ramifications for how space and time are understood.
Understanding the world view of space and time as a receptacle is a complicated and lengthy process. What this model tends to do is to isolate entities from each other and try to logically deduce the truth of the whole by studying it in its broken down parts. It is believed that the truth of the whole can be found in discovering its origin in its smallest quantifiable part. This has drastic implications for understanding our world and understanding God. Though as complicated as this topic may be, the bottom line and what drives the world view is the interaction of God with the world is impossible. It questions every event of God in history and is reframed on this premise. The general worldview questions the validity of the Incarnation of God and searches for other explanations to water down this event and keep God out of human affairs. There is a divide between the act of of the Man Jesus Christ and the being of God.
Space, time and matter went through a revolution through James Clerk Maxwell and Albert Einstein where the relationship of space, time and matter became interconnected and interdependent. James Maxwell made startling inroads in the fields of electromagnetism showing how particles behave in their relationships with one another. Albert Einstein took up Maxwell’s work and developed his theory of relativity bringing together space and time in relationship to one another. Time and space are relevant to each other. It is like looking at the world along the lines of bio-diversity where visible macro-organisms are as important to the environment as the invisible micro-organisms. We know for a fact that if one part of the environment is disrupted or destroyed even at the microscopic level, it can have dire consequences on the whole environment. It is taking the big picture of all things in the cosmos and the vital role they play in their relationship to one another that gives us a clearer picture for our understanding of the macro and micro things. In this model, it takes the involvement of God in the cosmos very seriously. God interpenetrates and interacts with humanity as a Human Being in history in our space and time making eternity and time overlap and indwell one another.