I’ve been pondering this question since I read the majestic opening of the Epistle to the Hebrews today*:
“Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
It’s not so much the contrast between how God spoke by the prophets and how he speaks through a Son that’s been occupying me. Although, that is important.
Rather, it’s the question of how it is even possible for a human being to be one through whom God speaks definitively.
I’m not just talking about how he might give us a broad hint about the nature of ultimate reality — e.g., that, at its heart, reality is about relationships of love and giving. Or how he can communicate some propositional truths about what God is like (as necessary as these are).
I’m talking about how it’s possible for Jesus to make God known with a depth, reality and clarity never before attained (and not since transcended). How it’s possible for him to draw us into a certain kind of relationship with this God.
However these questions must finally be answered, I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that Jesus is the singular and representative human being — and so God’s image-bearer par excellence: the heir-appointee of the universe (of whom Psalm 8 spoke) and “the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being”.
At the same time, it must also have something to do with his inclusion in the divine identity. For, according to this letter, Jesus somehow shares in God’s distinctive activities of creating and sustaining or ‘bearing’ — ie. upholding and governing — all things.
And all of this is tangled up with what Jesus has done — both making purification for sin as the ultimate priest and sitting at God’s right hand as the ever-living risen and ascended king…