29 November 2016
"How" is God's business. We don't know how God does any number of things. We know what He does when He reveals his actions to us, but like any earthly father, He doesn't always explain to His children how He does what He does. So what's the problem? What child would complain about being given an ice cream sundae, if the father would not explain how he earned the money necessary to purchase the treat? Yet, we act like such a child complaining because we do not know how God can eternally beget His Son who is and remains God of God. Or worse yet, we tell God He can't possibly do what we cannot understand by our human reason.
Despite our fussiness about knowing what we cannot know, God still gives Himself to us in His only begotten Son. This is why we are often looking for God in all the wrong places. We are looking for the God we can understand and by understanding Him to control Him. The god that will fit into our limited mind is a limited god. If you can comprehend how He does what He does, you no longer trust and believe in Him. Worse yet, the god who is limited by our mind is ourselves. This is the ultimate triune idol of "Me, Myself, and I." We cannot control ourselves nor do we always fully understand why and how we do what we do. What makes us think we are capable to understanding the how and why of God. His paths are dark, so that we do not fall into idolatry of knowing too much. The god we can control is the god that does not exist. We remain in the dark so that God can be our Light. 

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"The manner of this begotten-ness [of the Son] is therefore a secret confined to the [Father and the Son]. If any one lays upon his personal incapacity his failure to solve the mystery, in spite of the certainty that Father and Son stand to Each Other in those relations, he will be still more pained at the ignorance to which I confess. I, too, am in the dark, yet I ask no questions. I look for comfort to the fact that Archangels share my ignorance, which Angels have not heard the explanation (1Pt 1:12), and worlds do not contain it, that no prophet has caught sight of it and no Apostle sought for it, that the Son Himself has not revealed it. Let such pitiful complaints cease. Whoever you are that search into these mysteries, I do not bid you resume your exploration of height and breadth and depth; I ask you rather to acquiesce patiently in your ignorance of the mode of Divine generation, seeing that you know not how His creatures come into existence.
"Answer me this one question: Do your senses give you any evidence that you yourself were begotten? Can you explain the process by which you became a father? I do not ask whence you drew perception, how you obtained life, whence your reason comes, what is the nature of your senses of smell, touch, sight, hearing; the fact that we have the use of all these is the evidence that they exist. What I ask is: How do you give them to your children? How do you ingraft the senses, lighten the eyes, implant the mind? Tell me, if you can. You have, then, powers that you do not understand, you impart gifts which you cannot comprehend. You are calmly indifferent to the mysteries of your own being, profanely impatient of ignorance concerning the mysteries of God's.
"Listen then to the Unbegotten Father, listen to the Only-begotten Son. Hear His words, 'The Father is greater than I' (Jn 14:28), and 'I and the Father are One' (Jn 10:30), and 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father' (Jn 14:9), and 'The Father is in Me and I am in the Father' (Jn 10:38), and 'I came from the Father' (Jn 16:28), and 'Who is in the bosom of the Father' (Jn 1:18; KJV), and 'All things have been handed over to Me by my Father' (Mt 11:27), and 'The Son has life in Himself, even as the Father has life in Himself ' (Jn 5:26). Hear in these words the Son, the Image, the Wisdom, the Power, the Glory of God. Next mark the Holy Spirit proclaiming 'Who shall declare His generation"?' (Is 53:8; KJV). Note the Lord's assurance, 'No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him' (Mt 11:27). Penetrate into the mystery, plunge into the darkness, which shrouds that birth, where you will be alone with God the Unbegotten, and God the Only-begotten. Make your start, continue, and persevere. I know that you will not reach the goal, but I shall rejoice at your progress. For He who devoutly treads an endless road, though he reach no conclusion, will profit by his exertions. Make your stand, although reason will fail for want of words." 

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 2.9-10
John 10:22-39

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came- and Scripture cannot be broken- do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. 
Unbegotten Father, You eternally beget the Son, and although I cannot understand what it means to be eternally begotten, I still confess this to be the Christian truth. Help me to share with the world what I cannot understand with my mind. Amen.
For Bill Heine, who is gravely ill, that the Lord Jesus would send the holy angels to attend him
For Jill Stoneburner, who is fighting cancer again, that the Lord would grant her strength, hope, and healing
For the family of Leroy Puffe, that they would be comforted with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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