The relevance of Bethlehem - Page 4



Suppose for a moment that the Holy Child in the manger was much the same as any other child; that the figure on the Cross was just another man, and that his crucifixion was just another execution. Suppose that whole series of events was on the purely human level, and that God was not involved in it at all.

What picture would that give us of God? He would be a God who created the world and then deserted it: a God who, fully knowing all the suffering human beings would bring upon themselves, nevertheless made humankind and left them to suffer alone; an unmerciful God who, like the Priest and the Levite in the parable, passed by on the other side, and whose precept therefore would be “Do as I say, not as I do”.

In a word he would not be a God of love.

And what would be the significance of human life? It would be this: after all the hopes and fears of human beings, after all their joys and sorrows, after all their endeavours and sufferings, they would either be snuffed out like a candle flame by the icy blast of death or would pass after death into hopeless misery, endlessly left to themselves with all their sins and frustrations and inadequacy – each one a spiritual failure among spiritual failures. As for God, human beings could find no happiness with him – a loveless being whom they could never love or even respect.