This past Sunday, Krista and I were discussing an intriguing thought about the Incarnation. When we say that God became flesh, we think of Jesus as a man, walking the streets, healing people, eating real food, and experiencing the emotions that come with being a human.
But if God became flesh, then God also became an embryo within the womb of Mary, completely powerless and dependent on her. I’ve always wondered at the thought of God becoming human in the form of that baby in the manger, but God’s smallness within Mary’s womb has never struck me until now.
As I consider the implications of God’s smallness and vulnerability within as an embryo, I realize that my theology of God’s sovereignty is incomplete. The God who exists in awesome, unbounded power is also the God who reduced himself to the size of a few cells within the uterus of the Virgin Mary.
Madeleine L’Engle captured this idea in her book, Bright Evening Star:
Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all his love into the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again, and the ancient harmonies resumed their song, and the angels clapped their hands for joy?
Power. Greater power than we can imagine, abandoned, as the Word knew the powerlessness of the unborn child, still unformed, taking up almost no space in the great ocean of amniotic fluid, unseeing, unhearing, unknowing. Slowly growing, as any human embryo grows, arms and legs and a head, eyes, mouth, nose, slowly swimming into life until the ocean in the womb is no longer large enough, and it is time for birth.