More of Wright's words for my "wordless 12 days of Christmas". This time on how the Living Word Jesus needs to "reform" our views of God.
It is possible to say more or less all the orthodox Christian affirmations, but to join them up in the wrong story. It’s possible to tick the boxes that say Trinity, Incarnation, Atonement, Resurrection, Spirit, Second Coming, and yet it’s like a child’s follow-the-dots. The great story—and after all the Bible is fundamentally a story—we’ve got to pay attention to that rather than abstracting dogmatic points from it. The dogmas matter, they are true, but you have to join them up the right way.
There’s a certain kind of modernist would-be orthodoxy, which uses the word “God” in something like the old Deist sense. He’s a distant, absentee landlord who suddenly decides to intervene in the world after all, and he looks like Jesus. But we already know who God is; now I want you to believe that this God became human in Jesus (we say). The New Testament routinely puts this the other way around. We don’t actually know who God is. We have some idea, the God of Israel, or of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we really haven’t understood who God is. That’s precisely what John says at the end of the prologue: No one has ever seen God, the only begotten who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known. John’s provided an exegesis for who God is. And in the Colossians 1, as well, (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God. In other words, don’t assume that you’ve got God taped, and fit Jesus into it. Do it the other way. We all come with some ideas of God. Allow those ideas to be shaped around Jesus.