It is quite a complex thing to be a human. We are, in many ways a walking paradox. On the one hand we are small and limited to physical existence. We are bound by space and time. We can only do one thing at a time and be in one place at a time. You cannot be both in the garden and in the library. You are either here or there. The alarm rings. You either get up or you don’t; get paid or don’t get paid. This sense of limitation is in many ways what it means to be human. Even when you live in a great city, you have your routine, your particular coffee shops, park benches and people. This embrace of our daily physical limitedness is perhaps most powerfully summarized in all those special things we call “home”.
And yet on the other hand we find within ourselves another longing, just as powerful – the need to be connected to something that goes far beyond all our daily experience. An infinite reference point. A boundless connection that brings us in tune with the whole universe. A source of meaning that pulls back the curtain of the daily grind and shows a beauty and goodness that breaths life into life itself. We need something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our world, to give rise to our little garden of life. Though our life is that limited little garden, our roots need to sink into a soil that is infinitely bigger then ourselves.
Solomon reflects on this when he says, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should geat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” Embrace the beauty of your little life. And yet, on the other hand he says that God has placed eternity itself in our hearts. In one self, you have bound up the paradoxical longings of physical finitude and eternal transcendence. We are both finite and infinite. We live both, in the here and now, and for that which endures beyond death itself.
As we consider these two halves of ourselves, we start to face the inevitable question, “How do we reconcile these two things?” How do we live as complete human beings, as those who clearly embrace both aspects of life in a way that makes sense and brings them together? Now, we can go round and round in these questions all day long like a dog chasing its tale. But the simple fact of the matter is that these two parts of ourselves don’t naturally come together on their own. Its like following two parallel lines to see when they finally intersect. They don’t. Not other their own, that is. They can connect with the help of a perpendicular line, or a half circle that brings the two together into a complete thing – a rectangle or a oval.
So heres a picture of the human soul. We are built in such a way that, standing on our own we are an incomplete thing in this world. We are much too little to be our own fulfillment. We are much too great to be a mere material speck in the cosmos. We are wired for this world, and also for whatever it is that goes beyond it.
Here is where Jesus comes in. This is where his odd uniqeness seems to fit the odd mold of the need of the human soul. A God-man? How strange is that? If there is a God, why on earth would he bother with becoming one of us? And yet, when we consider the need of the human heart, we start to see there is an echo in him of that which we crave most. Job voices the the universal human wish when he says,
“For (God) is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,
that we should come to trial together.
There is no arbiter between us,
who might lay his hand on us both.”¹
Job sits in the puddles of his pain and states that God is too high and big for there to be a realistic connection to him and all that he is with us little people. That is until, God himself becomes a man and enters our world. In Jesus we have the other half of our existence, the missing half. He is infinite, supreme, transcendent – the Maker of all things. And yet he is close by, among us, one of us. His deity fulfills our humanity. His humanity fulfills our longing to reach beyond out limited little state of life. In Jesus, the fullness and grandeur of the exalted God comes within reach of a little and fallen humanity. We look to him because he is like us.
We look to him because he is so unlike us. We look to him because he is within our reach. We look to him because he goes infinitely beyond our reach. He has done that which we would never be able to do. And because of that, we can do that which he has done. We can live as creatures made complete. We can live lives of infinite significance within the confines of our little daily lives.
- Job 9:32-33