Friday, November 6, 2009


The incarnation means that the Father’s one and only Son became a human being, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He who is face to face with the Father became what we are. Such staggering humility is a theme in itself, and we will come back to the Lord’s humility, but for the moment, the focus is upon the hidden acceptance involved in the coming of the Father’s Son.

In the Genesis narrative (and excuse me if I refer to something other than John and Ephesians) Adam and Eve’s fall left them hiding from the presence of the Lord. Terrorized and overwhelmed with guilt, they were not about to come out and face the Lord. And the Lord, in beautiful and astonishing grace, met them where they were in their new found darkness. He clothed them. Most of us in the West, subject as we are to the trauma of legalism, would assume that the Lord clothed them so that He could look at them, given that He is so holy as to not be able to look upon sinners. Such a notion is the product, in my opinion, of the fallen mind. The act of clothing Adam and Eve is not about the Lord and His supposed need to be appeased, but about Adam and Eve and their afflicted conscience. They have believed the lie, and doubted the very heart of the Lord. In believing that the Lord is not really for them they have adopted a profoundly alien paradigm. How could they possibly react to the presence of the Lord, given what they now believe about Him. The Lord, however, has set His heart upon Adam and Eve, and in them upon the race at large, to do us good beyond our wildest dreams. But now that Adam has bought the lie such relationship is beyond possibility.

I submit that the clothing of Adam and Eve had no Godward direction at all. It had nothing to do with the fallen notion that we must pacify and angry God, or that God needs to be pacified. The clothing of Adam and Eve was an act of concession on the Lord’s part, accommodating Adam’s fallen imagination, in order to establish a real relationship with Adam and Eve in their fallenness. In His astonishing love, and in determination to fulfill His dreams for our adoption, the Lord stoops to meet Adam and Eve where there are, to relate to them as fallen creatures. He accepts the situation. He accepts the fall as reality for Adam and Eve. He does not approve of their debacle, but neither is He in denial about what has happened. Adam and Eve have bought the lie. Their basic cast of mind is now terribly skewed. They believe terrible things about the Lord. They are hiding. The Lord meets them in their darkness and clothes them so that their conscience can be somewhat quieted, and perhaps a new relationship can begin.

The incarnation is the same love and determination writ large. The Lord comes in person. He comes to us. He enters into our world of darkness. He comes to His own. He not only becomes a human being; He becomes flesh. That is to say, He enters into the bushes with Adam and Eve, stepping into their terribly wrongheaded frame of reference and way of thinking. Why? To meet us where we are. To establish a real relationship with us as we are in our brokenness.

The incarnation is an act of divine acceptance of the human race as we are in our profound confusion. Without approving of what has happened, and without being in denial about it, the Lord, in His relentless love and determination to live in relationship with us and to share His abounding life with us, becomes what we are.

There is a lesson here about the power of acceptance. To accept someone is not necessarily to approve of what they are about, or even of what has happened. To accept them is to say that we recognize that what has happened is real, and that we intend to meet them where they actually are. The incarnation is the determination of the love of the Father, Son and Spirit to establish a real relationship with us as we are in our darkness. It is a costly move, as John announces in his prologue. ‘He came unto his own and His own received Him not.’ This rejection on our part will lead to the terrible shout, ‘Crucify, Crucify Him!’ And this shout, which is more than mere words, is where the incarnation finds its ultimate fulfillment. As we, as the Jews, as the Gentiles, the Romans, and the race at large nail the Lord to the cross of Calvary in utter rejection, He submits Himself to our brazen wrongheaded judgment, thereby meeting us at our utter worst, thereby establishing a real relationship with us as we are in our fallen, broken, judgmental craziness. And He brought His Father and the Holy Spirit with Him.

Acceptance leads to real relationship, and real relationship leads to real relationship.

May the Holy Spirit give us more light.


Anonymous said...

Where are you Adam?
Why are you hiding?
I'm naked.
Who told you you were naked?

debbies said...

This is one of the most beautiful explanations of God's acceptance I have heard (read). Thank-you. My favorite verse, John 2:24,25 reflects Jesus' amazing love in that, although he trusted no man because he knew what was in the heart of man, he chose to die for us (18 verses later, if you will!). Oswald Chambers, July 30, is about this verse. It is a real eye opener about how I am to stay in reality of our fallenness, yet accept, love, and forgive anyway. I ask God to remind me every day that, first, he did that for me. Second, since Christ is in me, I too, can do the same. But, it is a constant, deliberate laying down my flesh and submitting to the Lord-and I don't always succeed. I am thankful that He did.

bill winn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill winn said...

If a person cannot accept who I am that person cannot know me. As you say, one may not condone the other's state of being, but to know him/her necessitates a true acceptance of who that person is really. We know that in the fall of man we began to see God with a mythology not a theology. There was a rift created in the fall (in our inability to see the Father as he is) on our side. Were God not to have accepted Adam and Eve in their falleness would he not have strangled the relationship from his side as well? If he is determined to know us and be known by us in relationship then in his capitulation to our fall can we say that the sacrificial system and all of the legalities of Ancient Israel- perhaps were always for us and never for God? I guess what I am asking is this: Is the Father, Son, and Spirit so determined to have us in relationship that He is willing to "play by our rules" and be the "god" we demanded until such a time as the "Womb" was ready for the Incarnation?

Anonymous said...

Many theological assumptions were present with the rise of modern evangelicalism, specifically since the '70's Jesus movement. In the midst of attracting many to Jesus, traumatizing ideas were propounded that are felt to this day. E.g., "...that's man's way, not God's way..." black-white thinking, suggesting strongly that man's actions were inherintly evil, sinful, and loathsome in the sight of God. Ideas like that, coming from good, decent evangelical teachers damaged many. And then, in the fullness of time, there comes a fresh breeze...of an order that actually attracts lovers to God. Thank you Baxter. Maybe we do have a chance with God.

Davina Winn said...

I think the Fall is like a child that has developed autism. One day you are interacting and relating with your child and the next moment there is something not right. Jenny McCarthy describes it like this about her son Evan who developed autism at two years old after receiving his childhood shots. “Before the vaccination, he was huggy, lovey, snuggly,” she says in the newest issue of Us Weekly. “Then it was like someone came down and stole him.” As a parent, did Jenny say, “Oh well, it was nice while it lasted. Too bad…now your on your own kid.” No, she fought and she fought hard to win him back and now at six years old. He shows not signs of autism. Is Jenny McCarthy a more loving parent than God the Father. I don’t think so.

Anonymous said...

If the "Church" could just learn from this we don't want to leave our four walls and meet the sinner where he is and we wonder why we are not even keeping our kids yet Islam grows.

Excellent lesson something God has been dealing with me about for sometime, you put it to words.

Jerome Ellard said...

A great exposition of the Triune "God is love!" God, Baxter! Thanks so much. And I really appreciated Davina's Jennifer McCarthy story. Sadly, I have posited this God to a friend who says that I can't apply the kind of love that we are talking about here to God, that that "is only for us down here," on the earth. God's love, for him is, frankly, dark and incomprehensible, and is summed up in his concept of what a "Holy" God is like. Basically, most people give lip service to the "doctrine" of the Trinity, but they really think in terms of an unknowable, inscrutable, solitary "Holy" God whose main focus is on sin and obedience. Martin Davis, in his blog entries, does a wonderful job of showing how the idea of the "One God" gained dominance in Western thought. Instead of the relational-to-the-core God revealed in salvation history, we have been taught flawed vision of God that is based on human reasoning and Greek speculation. That God is not the Triune God Jesus revealed in these "last days" (Hebrews 1:1-3). Thank you, Jesus, for being the light of the world, and showing us what "Holy" really means!

Anonymous said...

Love the Acceptance article and this may not be the time or place to bring this up but here goes:

In attempting to relate this acceptance of God I keep running into an objection both from churched and non churched. If God is so good why doesn't he stop bad things from happening? Specifically this from my brother and his wife, (they just lost their 15 year old son in an accident): Why does God get the credit when good things happen (the doctor doesn't know what happened to the tumor but we do) and does not get the blame when bad things happen?

Again, I do not want to muddy the water here, it is so pure, and if this is not the time for this question I understand.

Anonymous said...

Ron, have you read "The Shack"? It is a wonderful attempt to answer the question you've asked. The gist of the answer is, "OK, what exactly do you want God to stop? Where do you draw the line? To do what people say - stopping bad things happeneing - is to stop everything from happening. The day will come for the end of the world, but that day is not yet for there are more people yet to be gathered into the kingdom."

Warren, Sydney

Boyd Merriman said...

Gods love for us is so great, that when he made us human, he meant for us to be human. Flaws and all.

God never intended for humans to not make mistakes. He intended for us to not sin. Big difference.

Mistakes will happen, all a part of being human. So if God stepped down to stop every thing from happening that might cause problems, he stops us from being human and learning.

A tight rope artist is in a very dangerous profession. But that does not stop that person from being a tight rope artist. God looks down on a potential disaster yet does not stop him/her from being that person. We are thrilled and entertained by that tight rope artist, even at their peril.

But why a 15 yo? Why not? A 15 yo death is just as tragic as a 55 yo death. Yet we let them drive cars, we let them ride these potential crash boxes. We know cars are potentially dangerous, even when we take all precautions to protect ourselves. That is being human.

Now I cannot relate to that kind of death on a personal level and I pray to God I don't. But we do need to realize that God loves us more than we love ourselves or our children! Thats right! God loves our children far more than we do! But our human experiences prevent us from seeing that. But God's experience will teach us that and though we still hurt, we realize God hurts right along with us.

Jesus is still human, yet fully God, experiencing that humanity with us.

***Please do read The Shack!


Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you for the comments. I do agree with them and 'The Shack' is a great book. My brother, the one who lost his son, read it after it happened and for the first time in our lives, he patted me on the back and thanked me; said it was a good book. He even mentioned it first last evening again when we were discussing this same topic and he is not churched. Actually some of my church friends seem to be disturbed most by the question of why do these things happen. For example a lifelong churched cousin who spent years, and still fighting, the anger towards God and others for her son's autism.


Anonymous said...

Since writting my last comment I better realize the answer to why bad things happen. Of course I still don't know the answer but when Jesus was talking about the tower of Siloam is I understand him to say we live in such a world where things happen such as accidents and nature's tragedies.

Watching a scientific history program the other night about the history of the world helped me also to better see the utter reality of it all. As man has studied the geological and other evidence of the history of this earth it is amazing what they have found. Four and a half billion years of history for this earth. God is much bigger than I have realized in the past and that makes our not understanding of something seem quite less than I thought.

What do you think?


Boyd Merriman said...

I enjoy watching these history of the universe shows as well. My wife and I discussed how the formation of the earth according to the scientists flows along the same line as the Genesis account. From the earth being "without form", to waters covering the earth and land appearing, including the type of animals and plants that appeared. Amazing.

I also used to think of God as being in one place, in heaven, wherever that was. And God can get from one place to another just at the speed of thought (which is far faster than speed of light). But now I see God is being omnipresent and already there (King David noticed that too). God is far bigger, far more powerful and far more reaching than I thought too!

That God watched as the planets collided and created a stabilizing moon, who formed dinosaurs, created the ice age, who separated waters from land, who created the sun, which looks like a marble next to other giant suns he also created. He waited patiently for billions of years to watch his universe grow, expand, mix and match!

And God did all of that because he loved me.


No wonder God will not give up on humanity. We are only here for a moment in that time. It's almost like our humanity never existed it is so short. Good thing Jesus became human so we won't go extinct!


C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

Davina, That's the gospel. Thank you.

Boyd Merriman said...

"The incarnation means that the Father’s one and only Son became a human being, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He who is face to face with the Father became what we are."

I like that, "bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh" which brings us back to the original creation.

I was inspired to write about the Sacrifice of Jesus when he became human.
The Ultimate Sacrifice.

You guys really inspire me. I have written more and been excited more since this revelation came to us.

I'm looking forward to this February when Baxter and Paul Young will be in the Virginia Beach area to promote The Shack.


Great Googly Moogly! said...


In one of your early blog posts I think you mentioned that you may post some book recommendations. I'm very slowly working my way through your blog post by post and was wondering if you ever did put up some recommendation and if so, could direct me to them? If not, could you go ahead and list some titles that you think are essential?

I notice that you have a few books yourself which I'll be getting shortly. You also mention T.F. and James B. Torrance a lot. I'm assuming that you would recommend some of their material as well?

Anyway, as I've said before, much of what you speak about is very much in harmony with the Gospel understanding that we have at our small body out here (from a certain perspecitve). I think, in general, we are very close to talking about the same thing, though there are some doctrinal issues that seem incompatible at the moment.

Along with your books, please recommend a few titles that you think would be beneficial.

In the meantime, I'll continue to work my way through your blog and audio material.



C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

Jason, I have not listed my top ten books, but I will. For now let me say that Athanasius, T. F. Torrance, J. B. Torrance, Karly Barth and C. S. Lewis, and Paul Young on in it, as is Thomas Erskine. You will find at the back of The Great Dance a very refined, yet slightly dated, suggested reading list.

Great Googly Moogly! said...

adThank you, Baxter.

I checked out a few books at the Denver Seminary Library yesterday. I've got T.F. Torrance's "The Incarnation" and "The Mediation of Christ" and also J. McLeod Campbell's "The Nature of the Atonement" to get me started.

I just finished the Introduction to McLeod's book written by James B. Torrance and I'm looking forward to jumping into it. I think I have a much better idea what is meant by "Universal Atonement", but this particular nuance seems to suffer the same fate as traditional semi-pelagiansim in that it is our "work" of believing that makes the reality of Gospel applicable to us. In my initial understanding of "Universal Atonement" It seems that even though objectively atonement has been made for all humanity (as opposed to only the potentiality of atonement in classic Arminian theology), subjectively it is still our "work" of believing that allows us to experience this objective work of Christ on our behalf. Does this make sense? I'm sure I'm missing something here, so I'm looking forward to reading McLeod and seeing how he treats this subject.

BTW--I've finished the first three audio messages by James B. Torrance on "Prayer and the Triune God of Grace" and I'm really enjoying them. So much of what he's saying lifts my heart and rings true.

Thanks again.


DNA989 said...

This is an awesome post. The thing I wonder about is - was all humanity reconciled at the point of Christ's death, or must each of us enter through faith into salvation? I grew up with the belief that we must be born again and enter into salvation through belief. It seems that there are others who believe that this reconciliation was done for all humanity at the time of his death. I am not trying to steal thr thunder of the Dance with the Trinity and its centrality...but I wrestle with this question of salvation and how the reality of the Trinity and Christ's work touches those from different faiths...big questions - any feedback is appreciated!!! Best...

Great Googly Moogly! said...


As I'm sure you've discovered by now, the idea here is that humanity (all of us for all time) has been reconciled in Christ through His incarnation and atoning sacrifice (and subsequent resurrection and ascension). Humanity has been "taken up", so-to-speak, in Christ through Jesus' vicarious humanity. We don't "believe" in order to get saved; we are already "saved" in Christ through His vicarious humanity and this is what we are called to believe. The fact of our union with Christ doesn't change if we don't believe; but our relationship with the Father in Christ by the Spirit will not be...well..."known to us?" if we disbelieve. I'm not sure if I said that correctly.

At least this is how I understand it. I'm still working through a few issues, but my heart resonates with the concepts that are being brought forth here and elsewhere.

Since I'm still trying to get "up-to-speed" with this perspective, if anyone wants to help clarify my understanding here...please! :-)

As I say, I'm still fairly new to this way of thinking, but I hope this helps.


Boyd Merriman said...

you have come a long way Moogly, and in response to DNA989, it goes further back than that.

The moment Adam and Eve sinned, he was slain for us. When Jesus set aside his glory to become flesh (incarnation), it too was a sacrifice that reconciled humanity to himself. Because he became human, humanity was one hundred percent reconciled. Since we cannot save ourselves, even our perception of being "saved" is so warped, we have no idea what that really is. So God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has saved us their way, not our way. Nothing we can do to change that. Once we try to do something to save our relationship with God, our sinful nature immediately messes that up. Repentance is simply changing your mind and letting God handle it from here on out.