The short answer is he probably wasn’t. The more important answer is that there was a reason for the humble birth of God’s son–a reason that predates time itself.
First let’s address the place of Christ’s birth. Joseph and his betrothed wife, Mary most likely walked the 100 miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem in a caravan of others heading to their ancestral homes in the south to register for a census decreed by Caesar Augustus. Since Jews avoided contact with Samatarians, those who lived between Nazareth and Bethlehem, they would have traveled on a route that followed the Jordan River east of Samaria. The one-to two-week, 100 mile journey, brought them to the small village six miles south of the temple in Jerusalem.
There, like most of their fellow travelers, they would have sought lodging with relatives. The Bible tells us there was no room for them in the guest room, (mistranslated “stable”) that would have been on the upper level of the house where people slept, so they likely bedded down in the general living area on the first floor. A common practice then was to bring animals inside at night to protect them from cold, thieves and other dangers. That may be why Mary, after delivering her baby, lay him in a feeding trough (manager), that then served as Jesus’ bassinet.
Of greater importance is understanding why Jesus would be born in such lowly circumstances. Jesus was with God when the universe was created. He was the instrument of creation of everything, including mankind, with whom he wanted to have a relationship, and on whom he could bestow his love and affection. But man abused the relationship and rebelled and in the process became lost to God’s companionship and his love. God never stopped loving man, and prescribed a system of sacrifice by which man could atone for his rebellion, generally known as sin. The blood of an unblemished lamb was let each year for the forgiveness of sin, but it was a temporary measure that had to be performed annually, forever.
Jesus, the creator of the universe, came to earth to take the place of the lamb, shedding his blood once for all time. How better for Him to become the perfect sacrifice than to be born in the lowliest of conditions taking the place of the unblemished lamb. God loved us so much that he sent Jesus in total humility to provide a pathway for the restoration of our relationship with Him.
This is a frequently asked question and in a way a mystery but there is a simple answer…because He is God and He can. As such, He is the Creator of all and has existed forever.
In the Bible God is referred to as, I Am. But, a more explanatory answer is that He is a ‘transcendent’ God meaning He is in a separate world of dimensions well beyond ours and is not limited to time and space as we humans are. With God in eternity there is no time. He ‘spoke’ our universe into existence through the power of His Word and both time and space were created. We are unable in our limited dimensions to comprehend this fact. We also cannot understand time. It just is! It is there to mark the days and years and the seasons of life. But, He did give us practical, positive and understandable evidence of His existence and presence and creative power. A few examples are:
- 1. Nature: The greatness, grandeur and magnificence of all on this earth, and the laws that govern the sciences.
- 2.Life: The concept of all life and how it all fits together for it’s reproduction and existence. We know that humans are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
- 3. The Bible: We know it is God’s inspired Word because only He sees all of human history as if it’s already happened. That’s how there can be hundreds prophecies of future events that are 100% certain like the first and second coming of Jesus…. God’s omniscience and power on display.
- 4. Divine Intervention: God heals diseases, answers prayers, influences our decisions and most importantly transforms lives. Examples of these are endless. Think about John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, transformed from slave trader to preacher and hymn writer.
In summary, God created the universe out of nothing because He wanted to demonstrate His love for all who desire a personal relationship with Him in this life and for all eternity in a new dimension, heaven. That relationship and salvation is possible for all those who trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Romans 10:9&10)
Last week we covered God’s involvement in His creation up to the coming of Christ. After a silence period of 400 hundred years God again appeared and became actively involved to complete a plan He had before the creation of the world. So let’s now look at what we observe God doing after this silent period.
First,we see God active as evidenced in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the sending of the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the conversion of Paul and perhaps other unrecorded events.
We may not physically see God’s activity as much in Western Culture today, especially Europe, but God seems to be active in other cultures. Many of these cultures that seem so unlikely such as China and the Muslim world are coming to believe in Christ in huge numbers. God’s activity is being expressed through the Holy Spirit much like it was in the first and second centuries. God’s work form the beginning has always been the redemption of sinners from all nations, (John 6:29)
The Bible is clear on how God is involved today.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets … but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son. (Hebrews 1:1-2 NLV)
Now God speaks through the Holy Spirit that Jesus promised to send following his resurrection and His inspired Word, the Bible. However, when we ask about God’s activity we should be considering our own activity. Are you sharing the ‘Good News’ of the gospel, “Jesus saves”, as you are going about in your world daily? God still works thru Jesus’ disciples to bring hope, love and peace to a hurting world that He loves.
Finally, with the coming of Jesus, God began a new way to be active with his creation. He became active through the Holy Spirit. We must connect with God on a spiritual level and in turn He acts with us on a spiritual level to bring about His plan of redemption (John 4:24) and one day Jesus will return, perhaps soon. Remember to take time out with your worldly activities to be spiritually involved with Him. God is always available. He is waiting for you to call.
This is a good question and one that many people wonder about.
Now by its very nature this question implies that the questioner thinks God was once active in his creation but questions whether God is still involved. It also signifies that the questioner does not see any evidence of God’s activity today. If God is still involved what is the evidence?
We need to examine our time perspective in relation to God’s. The scientific interpretation of the genesis description of Creation is that the universe was created out of nothing about 13.8 billion years ago. Earth was created 4.8 billion years ago. Homo sapiens, man, represented by Adam, have been on earth about 10,000 years. In terms of God’s total activity with creation under this interpretation, man’s time on earth and God’s revelation of himself to man has been only 7.7 x 10-9% of the time God has been creating. So we are seeking a look at God’s activity during a very, very small window. Nevertheless, we see it.
The Bible records numerous instances of God being active in his creation within this small window of time. He was involved directly with people who had personal encounters with him: Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, Paul the Apostle and the disciples John and Peter just to name a few.
He was also involved with activities: the creation itself, the Flood, the Exodus out of Egypt, the occupation of the Promised Land, and the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. Then there was silence for a period of about 400 years between the Old and New Testament when God seemed to be silent. That period ended in with the coming of John the Baptist to pave the way for the ministry of Jesus who equated John with Elijah (Luke 1:17)
(The lesson to be remembered about the silent period is that the silence of God for a period of time is not to be taken as the absence of God. Remember God is not governed by time because he existed before there was any time. That came about as a result of creation. Rather, God acted in the fullness of time, at the perfect time in history to bring Jesus to mankind, an act predestined by God in his plan before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1: 4-7 NLV).
Next week we will examine the evidence of God’s involvement for the time of the past 2000 years. You will be quite surprised!
Irreducible complexity is a specific example of Intelligent Design. The definition of intelligent design is that the best explanation for the creation of the universe was by an intelligent cause or agent and not by natural selection (Evolution).
Irreducible complexity is a term that describes a system having a specific function due to several interacting parts or processes where the removal of any one of the parts or processes causes the system to cease functioning. The simplest example most often used is the mousetrap. Each of the mousetrap’s parts is required for it to function as intended. The removal of any part renders the mousetrap useless as a mousetrap.
Scientific advances of the last 50 years have uncovered many more processes that are irreducibly complex particularly processes in the human cell that are essential to life. Some examples:
- Blood clotting is a cascade of 21 steps each leading to the next step and dependent on the step before such that the removal of any step renders the blood unable to clot.
- A myriad of transport systems within the cell to ferry molecules to their location for utilization.
- Light sensing systems in animal eyes.
- The synthesis of a protein requires a multitude of steps the removal of any part would make the synthesis impossible.
- Biological motor systems such as that found in the bacterial flagellum.
The cilia, small hairs, in our noses that move fluid over surfaces.
The reason examples of irreducible complexity are taken seriously by evolutionists is that it threatens evolution as the complete explanation of creation and the origin of man.
Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species stated, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Evolution is threatened because if a process will not function with the absence of any part performing its intended function how could the total process function over the time taken for the individual parts to become functional. Irreducibly complex processes seem to not have come together gradually and are examples of exquisite intelligent design.
(Text provided by G. Lee Southard, Ph.D. author of To Know With Certainty)
For more information refer to the work of Dr. Michael Behe, Professor Lehigh University, Bethlehem Pennsylvania and the Discovery Institute, Seattle, Washington.
Photo copyright: bwylezich / 123RF Stock Photo