By Elton D. HiggsScience fiction fans will know what a wormhole is: a time-warp portal from one place to another, a breach in the usual space-time barrier between galaxies, parts of a universe, or even different dimensions of existence. In the field of physics the idea is merely a speculative projection into the unknown, but when I was thinking about the mutable world of human suffering, I found a fruitful analogy between wormholes and the Incarnation.
The question that led me into this train of thought was, “Why is it, in the nature of things, that we often encounter God most profoundly in suffering? And how does this mystery relate to the supreme suffering of our Lord Jesus?” Previously I have written about the contrast between OT and NT views of suffering (see Musing # 8 for 10-30-15), and of the full development of a theology of redemptive suffering in the NT. The watershed between these two views is, of course, the voluntary but utterly undeserved suffering that Jesus accepted in going to the cross. God’s relationship with mankind was radically altered by that event and its redemptive completion in the resurrection and ascension of Christ. When we find closeness with God through joyfully accepting unjust suffering for Him, we experience a reflection of the Grand Purpose of the Incarnation, the forging of a meeting place between the Holy God and fallen mankind. Only on God’s side could there be an effective initiative to create that door, to blast a hole in the impermeable barrier between Holy Heaven and corrupt Earth. Since mankind could not come up to God, some part of God Himself had to enter into the world of mortality. And that point of entry had to be where fallen humans found God least accessible and most horribly absent. It was through the unanswered mystery of suffering that the great “wormhole” had to be created. God opened this Portal first from the Heaven side through the birth of Jesus, and it was finished from the other side with the Ascension, which reunited the resurrected Son with the Father.
The Incarnation can be seen as God’s final answer to Job. When Job demanded that he be granted a divine hearing, God essentially said, “Although In my sovereignty I cannot be called into court by you to answer for your undeserved suffering, I will acknowledge the virtue of your enduring that suffering without renouncing me, and I will restore double all that I allowed to be taken from you. Beyond that, you and all humans who accept my Goodness will simply have to trust that in the end my Goodness will produce the Justice that you long for.” The door that Job found closed to him has now been opened. As it is written in Hebrews 10:19-22, we now
. . . have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that He opened up for us through the curtain, that is through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.