Since this is Christmas, and we’re focused on the miraculous birth of a baby over 2,000 years ago, a baby who would be the Savior of the world, I thought it an opportunity to broaden our focus on the one who made that birth possible. That would of course be the living God, all powerful, all knowing, all present. In all of biblical history there was no conception and birth like that of the young peasant girl Mary. Going back to Abraham and Sarah, there were several times when barren women beyond child-bearing years got pregnant, including Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, but they all got pregnant the old fashioned way. God being God, he was able to impregnate the virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we read about in Matthew and Luke. The old fashioned way, though, is every bit as miraculous, but we’re so conditioned by secular Western culture that we think women getting pregnant is somehow “natural.” There is nothing natural about it!
For Christians there is no distinction between the natural and the supernatural. C.S. Lewis pointed out (in God in the Dock, p. 15 & 16) that Mary’s conception by the Holy Spirit was no more miraculous than any woman’s conceiving. When I first read that not too many years ago I remember stopping, and having to think about that. Of course, that’s true! But why would I have thought that when one sperm out of trillions makes a connection with the ovum, that somehow that is not supernatural just because it required the sexual act? Because I’m as easily conditioned by secularism as the next person, and I quickly repented when I realized it. Now I see nothing as “natural” but everything as super-natural because all things have, and sustain, their existence only by the power of Almighty God.
This is how easily deluded we are. When we see a tree, we assume that tree became a tree because a seed was planted in dirt that received water and sun, and it grew into a tree. Wrong! It became a tree because of God! Without God there would be no tree, or us to marvel at the site of a tree (You do marvel at trees, right?). God uses secondary causes to make trees, like humans to plant seeds, and soil, sun, air, and water, but God alone is the primary cause of all things. It is critical that we as Christians see the world differently than our secular neighbors, because if we don’t we are likely to fall into accepting their secular assumptions as well. Assumptions like there is such a thing as natural and supernatural. All of nature is super-natural because nature only exists because our Creator God exists. As I argue in my book, it is even more critical to teach our children how to see the world correctly, biblically, as it really is. When we do this successfully (which means doing it all the time), they will never be deluded as secularists wish them to be.
I call this the design inference, but God doesn’t just design things initially, and then somehow they go on their merry “natural” way. That’s called Deism, not Christianity. The God of Genesis 1 and 2 is no clockmaker God who sets everything in motion, and then goes on a Creator vacation. God is “creating” all things at all times, or they would not exist. Paul says in I Timothy 6:13 that God “gives life to everything.” Of Christ in Colossians 1, he says:
16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Without him they all come apart! Imagine that nuclear reaction. The writer of Hebrews says he upholds all things by the word of his power. Without that word, they all fall down. So this Christmas I urge you to see all things as they ought to be seen. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen!