Reflections on the Word
There has been no revelation of God from the beginning that has not been mediated through the second Person of the Trinity. Such that He is the one, as the one sent, who from the beginning has condescended to interact with creation.Old Testament Christophanies [as in the Angel of the LORD] are forward-looking to the incarnation. In the Old Testament, the eternal Word temporarily assumed created attributes (visibility, locality, temporality); these were a demonstration of our need for God to condescend toward us, that He might stoop down to rescue us and dwell with us, becoming like us—for us and our salvation—while not compromising His deity. In the New Testament, the eternal Word permanently assumes human nature, fulfilling all the Old Testament patterns, prophecies, and legal demands.
Moreover, knowledge of God, who is spirit, is always mediated to His creation through the Word: from creation in Genesis 1 to the call of Abram in Genesis 12, from the vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37 to the coming of the Word in flesh (John 1:14), God has always been known by His Word. The NT identification of Jesus Christ as the “Word” who is with God and who is God (John 1:1) is fundamental to a right understanding of who God is. That our knowledge of God is a mediated knowledge is one reason why it is so important for us to acknowledge and proclaim that there is “one Mediator between God and Man” (1 Tim 2:5b): that is, Christ Jesus, who is both fully God and fully Man.
Questioning the absolute identification of the means of God’s self-revelation with the eternal Word, Camden Bucey of Reformed Forum asked Dr. Oliphint about Matthew 3:13-17 (the passage focused on the baptism of Jesus, where the Father’s voice is heard from Heaven, and the Spirit descends as a dove). Oliphint answered:
What we have in this passage of Matthew is just a great example of… God’s triune condescension with its revelatory focus in the Son, because the Father is speaking—He condescends in that way, to speak—but His speaking has its own focus in the Son and the Spirit condescends in the form of a dove, but He’s descending in order to be with and in the Son. And so you have the Father and the Spirit there in their condescension modes focusing their attention on the Son Himself as the preeminent revelation.
Labels: Reformation Theology