I’m at the half-way point reading The Shack, and this conversation, between the main character and God, stopped me in my tracks and was worth thinking over before moving on.
[God:] “Jesus is fully human. Although he is also fully God, he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being. He is just the first to do it to the uttermost — the first to absolutely trust my life within him, the first to believe in my love and my goodness without regard for appearance or consequence.”
[Mack:]”So, when he healed the blind?”
“He did so as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.”
That came as a shock to Mack’s religion system.
[God:] “Only as he rested in his relationship with me, and in our communion — our co-union — could he express my heart and will into any given circumstance. So, when you look at Jesus and it appears he’s flying, he really is … flying. But what you are actually seeing is me; my life in him. That’s how he lives and acts as a true human, how every human is designed to live — out of my life.”
I’m with Mack. This is a thought I’ve never heard before, and even the possibility is a shock to my religion system. The teachings and beliefs I’ve been around my whole life are that Jesus was 100% God and 100% human at the same time, able to function as both. The root of that is Colossians 2:9, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.”
I’m not saying that the idea presented in The Shack totally rejects that, yet it doesn’t fully embrace it either. In The Shack, it seems as if Jesus was God but he didn’t exercise that power, where perhaps my line of thinking has been that he was God but he could exercise his Godly powers if and when he needed to. So, when raising people from the dead, healing, walking on water, and all the other miracles he himself was doing so as God and the primary reason we can’t/don’t do those things is because we’re not God. Yet The Shack would say that the primary reason we can’t/don’t do those things is because we don’t have the same faith or commitment as Jesus.
While I can’t sort it through it all, what I do find amazing is the example of what our relationship with God is supposed to be, or rather could be. The next line in The Shack:
[God:] “A bird’s not defined by being grounded but by his ability to fly. Remember this, humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intentions that I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in my image.”
Kinda makes me wonder what all I’m missing out on by not living up to his intentions.