In our first readings, we have seen that Jesus predates creation. Parallel that to Isaiah 9:6 (also notice that Isaiah 9 begins with an announcement of the Light in verse 2).
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Hebrew term used here to describe Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 is “abi-ad“, which is a combination of the words father and eternal. This has also been translated “Eternal Father”, “Father of Eterninty” or “Eternity Father”. In any translation, and in both passages, Jesus is exalted, characterized as wholly other, and a doer in the act of creation… the same Jesus you talk to continually thoughout your day.
It is impossible for our minds to comprehend the depths of this relationship between the Godhead and time. Perhaps the closest we may come is by way of feeble analyogy. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis gives it a shot:
Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to him at 10:30 tonight, he need not listen to them in that one little snippet which we call 10:30. 10:30 — and every other moment from the beginning of the world — is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, he has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames.
That is difficult I know. Let me try to give something, not the same, but a bit like it. Suppose I am writing a novel. I write “Mary laid down her work; next moment came a knock at the door!” For Mary who has to live in the imaginary time of my story there is no interval between putting down the work and hearing the knock. But I, who am Mary’s maker, do not live in that imaginary time at all. Between writing the first half of that sentence and the second, I might sit down for three hours and think steadily about Mary. I could think about Mary as if she were the only character in the book and for as long as I pleased and the hours I spent in doing so would not appear in Mary’s time (the time inside the story) at all.
This is not a perfect illustration, of course. But it may give just a glimpse of what I believe to be the truth. God is not hurried about the Time-stream of this universe anymore than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being he had created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world…
If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture as the whole page on which the line is drawn. We come to the parts of the line one by one: we have to leave A behind before we get to B, and cannot reach C until we leave B behind. God, from above or outside or all around, contains the whole line, and sees it all.
This is a call to meditate on the concepts and terminology presented in John 1 that may have become commonplace for you. Worship by dwelling on the majesty portrayed John 1 and Colossians 1.What does it mean that Jesus is called “abi-ad”? How does that impact your understanding of the incarnation?