Perceiving the Unperceivable
By Serge G. Mihaly, Jr
As Orthodox Christians we are taught to believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is a fundamental part of that which makes us Orthodox Christians and whose full human understanding came about during the New Testament. While all three have existed since time immemorial, it is here that we were and are able to read and learn about all three. What I want to focus on, though, is the significance between the Father and the Son. Not the only significance of course, but one that I’ve thought about lately.
It is not uncommon for some to say they just can’t comprehend God. He seems too fantastic, too impossible to believe in. Some say they can only believe in what they see. They cannot comprehend God, they say, unless He is Hollywood’s nice old bearded man sitting on a golden throne surrounded by beautiful white clouds and even then He is just a figment of our imagination. ‘God’ is an idea made up for the simple minded so they can rationalize things that they can’t explain like gravity or the size of the Universe or the change in the seasons. For some this is ok. It is their choice to believe whatever they choose and far be it for me to force anyone to believe anything. My God doesn’t want anyone to be forced to believe in Him. He respects and loves us enough to give us free will and does so for a reason. He wants us to decide for ourselves to believe in Him or not. On another level many of the same people say they cannot comprehend the idea of God or understand why He does the things He does. For me, the answer is we are not supposed to understand God for if we could, we would be God. Our concept of Him comes down to experience and faith. They are a part of the beauty and wondrous mystery of God.
What I was thinking lately, and what occurred to me significantly, is that God did not just send His Son to die for our sins conquering ‘death by death,’ he gave us something more. He gave us Someone we could ‘touch, see and understand.’ Like Thomas touching Christ’s wounds that settle his doubt, Jesus Chris is the same to us. He is the ‘real’ thing, man, and is not some vague rationalization, a guess or a figment of anyone’s imagination. He is both Man and God, a concept that startles reason, but a real person we can identify with. Because Jesus was also man He looked like us and felt feelings like us and did so while spending His first 33 years amongst us without full recognition. Quite a remarkable feat for a being so different than us, but yet not so different at all.
Until the other day, I really did not understand this. I took it for granted that Jesus is man and God and accepted the understanding that He came down from heaven to die for our sins, but not bridge the gap between God and man’s perception of Him. This was a new thought, a different concept for me and one that opened my eyes toward another significance and wonder of what Jesus is.
Others within the Church also explain God as the Creator of all, being seen in the unlimited complexity of life, the intricate nature of every inanimate object or living creature from sand to cells to neurons to even smaller particles identified by some of the greatest minds of our time. They all come from God. I have a hard time believing the world came about ‘accidentally’ though a series of random mutations. There is no ‘Big Bang’ theory in the Orthodox Church. To me the ‘Big Bang’ theory or the belief that the Universe was created by a ‘large explosion’ is a combination of mankind’s ego and a touch of insecurity that seeks a human centered explanation of the world.
Jesus Christ goes beyond this and brings Himself and God the Father home into our hearts, into our lives and more, into our human family. For me, this is enough.