Thursday, December 10, 2009

Explaining the Incarnation

I'm always hesitant to use physical illustrations to explain hard things about the Bible. You know, like how the Trinity is like water (ice, liquid, vapor) or an egg (shell, yolk, white part) or Neapolitan ice cream (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry). I'm torn because I want some way to try to help my kids understand, but then they take things so literally. And no physical example can ever fully explain a spiritual truth about the Lord. Everything falls short.

Whenever I do try to explain things like this to my kids, I always preface it by saying something like, "You know, kids, what I'm going to say really isn't going to make complete sense, and I can't explain it fully, and it's not a perfect example. But it's a good thing that I can't understand and explain God completely. Because if I could understand everything about Him, then He wouldn't be so special, would He?" I think it's OK to not give a perfect answer or explanation, to let my children wrestle with who He is. THAT is where faith comes in.

Well, during the last few weeks, we've been talking about the Incarnation a lot, as a way to know and worship Christ during this season. We can never fully understand how Jesus is fully God and fully man, and that's OK. But I used an illustration that I read in "Big Truths for Young Hearts." I suggested that what if we think about Jesus divinity as a glass of water, and His humanity as a glass of juice. Somehow, in Jesus, you could mix those and they would be in one Person but both would be completely separate (which of course is not true for mixing juice and water).

Elijah, my 6 year old, came up with an illustration right there. He ran to get an oil-and-water mixture that he made a few months ago. If you shake it vigorously, you can get both the oil and water to mix, but they would still be separate. Again, it's not a perfect illustration, but I loved how his brain was trying to grasp the idea.

Any illustrations that you use to demonstrate spiritual truths?

-- Joey Espinosa

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