After You Read the Book...

Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves (IVP Academic, 2012)
 A good book sticks with you after the read. So instead of a usual book review, I thought I'd share an instance of how I am still Delighting in the Trinity: “Well, we all came from stardust…” Sometimes the holidays provide more opportunities to explain our faith. But it can also be the elephant in the festive room. Unbelievers know that you are hyper-aware, and they are trying to avoid at all costs the whole “Jesus is the reason for the Season” lecture. Many of the more intelligent folk don’t want to hear any of the “evidential” arguments either. They just don’t. One temptation that I am always cautious of is to verbalize the theological filter in my head while everyone’s having casual conversation. I would annoy everyone in the room if I let them know what was being collected in there. So, I let the conversation about originating from aliens run its course. Although my conversation partners were keeping an open mind, I don’t really think they believed that one either. I could feel their stare as the “supreme being” came up…they knew that I was holding back. And then came the doozy from the intellectual one in the circle. Stardust? That’s what you’ve got? I could be silent no longer. Quickly, before the words came out, I tried to run them through my filter that doesn’t always do the best job, the “proper tone filter”. I decided to take the question approach. “Could you explain for me how stardust has created beautiful, intelligent, moral, loving creatures?” My conversation partner went through many back roads and rabbit trails, but never answered my question. Everyone else, who were only seconds ago talking about aliens, decided it was a good time to play with their cellphones or watch from the sidelines. Besides the holiday, I was even more sensitive to this stardust comment after just reading Michael Reeves’ Delighting in the Trinity. I can easily explain how we are loving, beautiful, intelligent, moral creatures. My Creator is eternally loving because he is eternally the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I only wish I would have put it as well as the author; but I trust that the Holy Spirit was helping me here. Let me share Reeve’s words with you:
images-14One has to wonder if a barren god, who is not a father, is capable of giving life and so birthing a creation. But one can have no such doubts with the Father: for eternity has been fruitful, potent, vitalizing. For such a God (and only for such a God) it seems very natural and entirely unsurprising that he should bring about more life and so create (42).
My conversation partner places a high importance on logic. And this is good for the explanation of creation. If the Father and Son have always loved one another in the Spirit, it makes sense to be “outgoing” with that love.
Thus Jesus Christ, God the Son, is the Logic, the blueprint for creation. He is the one eternally loved by the Father; creation is about the extension of that love outward so that it might be enjoyed by others. The fountain of love brimmed over…
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb. 1:3, see also 2 Cor. 4:4). And so, as he gloriously goes, “shines” and “radiates” out from his Father, he shows us that the Father is essentially outgoing. It is unsurprising that such a God should create. And that we should then be created in the image of God and destined to be conformed into the likeness of Christ the Image is simply the continuation of that outgoing movement of love. The God who loves to have an outgoing Image of himself in his Son loves to have many images of his love (who are themselves outgoing) (43).
How can we possibly account for any of this by stardust? My conversation partner’s comeback to my original question was, “Well, you believe we were created from the dirt! What’s the difference?” That’s when I had the opportunity to share the glorious news. I wasn’t created from the dirt, but from the very breath of a loving, all powerful God. This God is not impersonal and impotent like stardust, but is an intelligent, beautiful, loving, righteous, Trinitarian God. And I just couldn’t resist sharing the message of Christmas, that this God has come to save of from our sin. All glory and honor is due to him!