Defining History

larrykingFormer CNN host Larry King was asked who he would most want to interview if he could choose anyone from all of history. “Jesus Christ” he said. The interviewer said, “And what would you like to ask Him?” King replied, “I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.”

Why would an answer like that define history? It is important to consider what really defines history for us-at least, it is important to consider what it is that defines our lives. Is it stability and safety for your family? Is it providing everything we need for our children to engage well in society? The achievement of our personal goals and dreams in life? Some sort of social or political agenda? If we are truly honest, I believe we answer with one of these.

Christianity does not let us get away with that so easily. It is either true or not: of paramount importance that eclipses everything; or, of no importance whatsoever. It is really that stark. The Gospel of John opens with what it believes defines history: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5)

stemadonnaIn this passage, the English “Word” is used to render the Greek word logos. Logos is a word with great depth and breadth. To Greek philosophers it was the universal principle that animates and rules the world. They believed attuning oneself to the logos was the way to the meaning of life. St. John wrote that the Logos was (and is) a Person… not a principle.

If Jesus Christ was virgin-born (and we confess that He was in our creeds) that means God Himself took on flesh and came to live amongst us. It means God Himself died for our sins and was raised again. It means history is His history, creation is His creation. Everything is defined according to the Logos. His cross and His resurrection dramatically and profoundly eclipse everything under the sun.