Monday, December 14, 2009

A Big God and Small People

As the nineteenth century progressed, the immensity of the universe became increasingly clear. In its shadow we became increasingly small. As Winston Churchill quipped, we looked “specks of dust, that [had] settled in the night on the map of the world.”


This presented a problem for the doctrine of the Incarnation. Why would God descend from realms of infinite glory to save creatures so small and insignificant?

Here is how one nineteenth century theologian, R. L. Dabney (1820-98), answered. “When once it was found that this earth was a very small planet in our system, it would appear very absurd, that the Lord of all this host of worlds should die for a little speck among them… [But] to God’s immensity, no world is really great, and all are infinitesimally small.

Here is the thrust of Dabney’s argument. So what if we are so small it is ridiculous? Physical size just doesn’t matter. The entire universe, no matter how big is, by definition, infinitely small compared to a God who is infinite in power, majesty, knowledge, and grandeur.

That is the God we worship. My personal conviction is that we are small for God’s glory. Our smallness magnifies the humility and condescension revealed by the Incarnation. God descended an infinite distance to save creatures infinitely small. What will it be like to see this God face to face?

Adore him during this advent season.

1 comment:

  1. Good point, Bill. All worlds would be small to Him who is lifted up in majesty.

    Re: your last sentence, how face to face shall we be with God? I was reading 1 Timothy 6:15-16, and wondering how this fits with Genesis 32:30, Ex 33:11, and Rev. 22:4?

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