My friend Bob Hamp uses an illustration to explain ”The Fall” of mankind in Genesis 3 that I really like. He compares mankind’s problem to a man who loses his glasses. The single event of losing the glasses actually creates two problems. 1) His glasses are lost and need finding. 2) His capacity to search has been significantly restricted. We can’t see and because of this we can’t find our way back to the only means of true sight. We have replaced Life with Knowledge and no amount of information will every make us alive again. Not even if it’s religious knowledge. Not even if it’s right religious knowledge.
As is spoken to Aragorn in The Return of the King as he seeks to travel the Paths of the Dead, “The way is shut.” The difficulty isn’t simply that Man has become disconnected from God, he has lost his capacity to reconnect. We cannot get from here to there. The way is shut.
C.S. Lewis, in his book The Grand Miracle, defines the Christmas story as the greatest miracle of all time. He rates it higher even than the resurrection. Why? Because it’s so unexpected. That God would defeat death is an amazing thing, but not so unexpected as the incarnation. We might expect God to be victorious, but we could never anticipate him becoming an infant. We expect him to be huge not small. We anticipate his glory, not his diapers being changed.
But this is precisely what he did. He lowered himself. He became small.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5–7, ESV)
God became nothing. We could never have become something apart from this. He came here. We could never have gone there apart from this. He became the door. He became the Way.