The Lord the Redeemer: 3. In the process of taking on a human manifestation, God followed his own divine design.

In the section on divine omnipotence and omniscience we showed that in the act of creating, God introduced his design into the universe as a whole and into each and every thing in it. Therefore in the universe and in all its parts God’s omnipotence follows and works according to the laws of his own design. The treatment of those laws runs from Sections 49 to 74.

Now, because God came down, and because he is the design (as was also shown in that section), there was no other way for him to become an actual human being than to be conceived, to be carried in the womb, to be born, to be brought up, and to acquire more and more knowledge so as to become intelligent and wise. Therefore in his human manifestation he was an infant like any infant, a child like any child, and so on with just one difference: he completed the process more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than the rest of us do.

This statement in Luke shows that he followed the divine design in his progress:

“The child Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, and he advanced in wisdom, age, and grace with God and with humankind” (Luke 2:40, 52).

Other statements about the Lord in the same Gospel make it clear that he grew up more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than the rest of us; for example, when he was “a child of twelve, he sat and taught in the Temple in the midst of the scholars, and all who heard him were astounded at his insightful answers” (Luke 2:46–47). Likewise later on; see Luke 4:16–22, 32.

The Lord’s life followed this path because the divine design is for people to prepare themselves to accept God; and as they prepare themselves, God enters them as if he were coming into his own dwelling and his own home. The preparation entails developing a concept of God and of the spiritual things related to the church—that is, developing intelligence and wisdom.

It is a law of the divine design that the closer and closer we come to God, which is something we have to do as if we were completely on our own, the closer and closer God comes to us. When we meet, God forms a partnership with us. The Lord followed this design even to the point of union with his Father, as we will show later on [Sections 97–99, 105–106].

People who do not know that the divine omnipotence follows and works according to the divine design are capable of hatching many concepts from their own imaginations that contradict and oppose sound reason. For example, they might wonder why God did not instantly take on a human manifestation without going through life stages. They might wonder why he did not create or assemble a body for himself from substances from all four directions of the world. If he had, he could have presented himself as a human God before the Jewish people and in fact before the entire world. Or if he had especially wanted to go through the birth process, why did he not pour his whole divinity into that embryo, or else into himself as a baby? Or right after he was born why did he not expand himself to the size of an adult and immediately start speaking divine wisdom? People who think of divine omnipotence without thinking of the divine design are capable of conceiving and giving birth to these thoughts and others like them, and filling the church with craziness and garbage—which, of course, has actually happened.

Take for example the idea that God could procreate a Son from eternity and could arrange that a third God would then emanate from himself and his Son. Or the idea that God could be enraged at the human race and schedule it for destruction, but then be willing to be brought back to compassion by the Son through the Son’s intercession and the Father’s recollection of the cross. Not only that, but God could put his Son’s justice into people and insert it into their hearts like Wolff’s “simple substance,” in which, as that author himself says, everything of the Son’s merit exists, even though that substance cannot be divided, since divided it would collapse into nothing. Then there is the idea that through a Papal bull God could forgive the sins of anyone he felt like forgiving and could purify utterly godless people of their black sins, thereby making dark devils shine like angels of light, while the godless people changed and developed no more than a stone would, but instead stayed as still as a statue or an idol.

People who fixate on divine, absolute power without recognizing or acknowledging any divine design are capable of scattering abroad these and many other insane ideas the way a winnower scatters chaff on the wind. On spiritual topics having to do with heaven, the church, and eternal life, people like this are prone to wander far from divine truths like a blind man in a forest who one moment trips over stones, the next knocks his head against a tree, and the next catches his hair in the branches.

The divine miracles followed the divine design as well; they followed the design of inflow from the spiritual world into the physical one. Until now no one has known anything about this design, however, because no one has known anything about the spiritual world. The nature of this design will be revealed in its own time, when I come to the discussion of divine miracles as opposed to magical miracles.

from True Christianity, Sections 89-91

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