25 December 2009

The child born in Bethlehem

Canada's National Post published an unexpected and rather extraordinary editorial yesterday: The child born in Bethlehem. Here's an excerpt:
In Christ all things hold together. All things, Christians believe, not just their own spiritual things. In Jesus Christ, to look at man is to look at God. In Jesus Christ, the God who lovingly and freely created the mighty galaxies and the lilies of the field now comes as man to redeem and to save that very same creation. The Christian good news is that in coming as man, all that man touches is now touched by God.

To use the Greek again, at Christmas what is anthropocentric now becomes theophanous -- to see man is to see God. The human and the divine are now united. All that man needs is now in contact with the divine. Man never loses his freedom to do evil, but he gains the capacity to build up what needs to be restored-- that all things might hold together again. For the Christian concerned about the environment, Bethlehem remains more important than Copenhagen.

Indeed, for the Christian, Bethlehem remains always more important; more important than Rome and Athens and Kyoto and Ottawa and New York and London, and other capitals ancient and modern. Those latter places provide the stories we have the privilege to report. On this day when many of our readers turn their attention to those Bethlehem nativity scenes, we acknowledge that there are stories greater still.

It's difficult to imagine The New York Times publishing something similar.


Anonymous said...

Thanks. A beautiful text. You're right; it is most unlikely that The New York Times would publish anything of the sort. The separation of Church and State in my country seems to have had the unexpected effect of reducing Christianity, in the public mind, to politics; nothing strictly theological is deemed worthy of public notice. We have become unspeakably impoverished.

Anonymous said...

Does this passage not feel a little humanist to anyone? "all that man touches is now touched by God", "Man never loses his freedom to do evil, but HE gains the capacity to build up what needs to be restored". This seems to be placing a great deal of emphasis on man, rather than on God. Jesus Christ did not embed mankind with a godhood.

David Koyzis said...

I don't necessarily vouch for the editorial's orthodoxy in all respects, but there is more than one way to read the passages you cite. If man is created in God's image, then the rest of God's creation is inevitably touched by man's stewardship of the same. Perhaps this is what the editorial is getting at.

Anonymous said...

I suppose. I think I'm always more than a little wary about secular publications making statements on Christianity. In some ways, it is more dangerous to publish something that is close to the truth, rather than something that is completely off base.

David Koyzis said...

Well, Nathan, you do have a point. There is always the temptation to be flattered with the crumbs thrown our way by a national newspaper. On the other hand, if one of the print media is willing at least to acknowledge the gospel publicly, it is surely better than having to hear it belittled in print.


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