Scripture: 1 John 5:14-15
In his recent book on the first Christmas, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, the former Pope Benedict calls the virgin birth and resurrection a “scandal to the modern spirit”:
God is “allowed” to act in ideas and thoughts, in the spiritual domain—but not in the material. That is shocking. He does not belong there. But that is precisely the point: God is God and he does not operate merely on the level of ideas. In that sense, what is at stake in both of these moments is God’s very godhead. The question that they raise is: does matter belong to him?
Naturally we may not ascribe to God anything nonsensical or irrational, or anything that contradicts his creation. But here we are not dealing the the irrational or contradictory, but precisely with the positive—with God’s creative power, embracing the whole of being. In that sense these two moments—the virgin birth and the real resurrection from the tomb—are the cornerstones of faith. If God does not also have power over matter, then he simply is not God. But he does have this power, and through the conception and resurrection of Jesus Christ has has ushered in a new creation. So as the Creator he is also our Redeemer. Hence the conception and birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary is a fundamental element of our faith and a radiant sign of hope.
Do you believe that God has the power to operate in our physical world—rather than merely the spiritual realm? If so, do your prayers for others or yourself reflect this belief?
1. Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives (New York: Image, 2012), 56-7.