Excellent article by Peter J. Leithart on God’s “worldly” nature, His immanence in creation, the overarching narrative of the Bible, and His condescension.
From the first page of the Bible, God is revealed as Creator. Painful as it may be for us to admit, God doesn’t need us or the world. The world is the result of a completely free act. Yet, the story he tells about himself opens as the story of himself with the world. When the curtain opens, we don’t catch God in a monologue. His shows himself first as the God who speaks all things into being.
Scripture continues as the story of God and the world. Yahweh chooses Abraham out of all the nations and promises to be his God. God even incorporates this choice into his name: He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel. Later, he identifies himself as the God of exodus: “I am Yahweh, who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Robert Jenson has spent the past half-century reminding us that the God of Scripture distinguishes himself from false gods with a name that incorporates people and events into his very identity.
With the incarnation God goes further. He doesn’t simply choose a man from among men. He becomes a man among men. And Jesus remains a man when he returns to the Father. If you were granted a visionary peek into the inner life of God, you’d see a glorified man sharing creation’s throne with his Father and Spirit. Mystics of other religions might be able to float beyond creation into a sea of sheer divinity. Not Christian mystics: On the top rung of the ladder is a bit of creation, the glorified but still incarnate Son, a sacrificial Lamb who yet bears the stigmata of a Roman cross and spear.
I’m reminded of this great C.S. Lewis quote: “God likes matter. He invented it.”